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Review of Patient Safety Standards for Hospitals by Joint Commision on Healthcare Essay

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The safety goals outlined for hospitals are intended to stimulate greater awareness of the elements of vulnerability or risk associated between patient and worker. Ultimately, patient safety, worker health and safe practice methods can have a positive influence on saving lives, reducing risk and controlling costs. The goals attempt to outline a uniform standard. When adopted by a health care organization, a successful culture of safety that benefits everyone has an opportunity to develop.

The following are the Commission’s patient safety goals with respect to hospitals. The first goal is to improve the accuracy of patient identification. Patients are given the wrong medications, taken to the wrong surgical rooms, and specimens get contaminated or mixed up. To address this issue and achieve improved accuracy, implementation of two patient identifiers attempts to reduce these errors. First, the patient should be identified reliably by their name, telephone number or other number that is person specific.

The second is to verify that the treatment matches the patient. The verification of the identifiers should be done with two individuals checking the same patient or having one person identify the patient, with a second verification assisted by the addition of a technology item, like a barcode. The second goal is to improve the effectiveness of communication among caregivers. Each clinical aspect of healthcare utilizes a different vocabulary. A patient may be seeing a psychiatrist, a physical therapist and a cardiologist at the same time.

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While each profession has a foundation of science that is designed help them communicate in a uniform manner, each clinical area will have specific language and understanding that may not translate from one specialty or discipline to another. Critical results of tests and diagnostics that are outside the normal range and indicate a life threatening situation must be communicated. Reports must be delivered and critical results given on a timely basis so the patient can be treated as soon as possible. Third, is the goal to improve the safety of using medication.

Medications that are not labeled properly or medications that are similar in name or packaging can obviously lead to a 1 deadly consequence. Suggested ways to achieve this goal is to make sure all medications, and containers are labeled correctly. Some of the specific suggestions to achieve this safety goal are to adopt the use of oral unit-dose products, prefilled syringes, or premixed infusion bags when these products are available. The fourth goal is to reduce the risk of health care-associated infections. Many people are in fear of going to a hospital.

They may feel at risk of getting a communicable disease. And while that is a possibility, few are aware that they may experience infections directly associated with the delivery of the medical service or treatment. The simplest and most obvious way to protect the patient from infection is to feverishly adhere to the Centers for Disease Control or World Health Organizations guidelines for hand washing. The late physician and scientist Ignaz Semmelweis would be astonished to see this method universally adopted.

Although, with as much science that has since validated his pioneering work, he could be annoyed to see a lack of compliance, considering the volumes of evidence published which supports his early theory. Patients are acquiring hospital based infections at an alarming rate, according to an NBC news story which was based on data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. And a brief review of the CDC report from 2011 on rates of infections clearly shows a link between number of days in the hospital and acquired infections.

The longer a patient is in the setting, the more likely it is that the patient is at risk. The likelihood of risk depends on the kind of treatment the patient receives. Risk assessment tools are essential to understanding which staff, providers, or independent practitioners need to be educated to understand the types of infections and their origins as they relate to their practice area. The families and patients must likewise be educated to understand the risks, complications and microbial hazards that are inherent to the treatment or service they are receiving.

Finally, goal fifteen is for the hospital to identify safety risks inherent in its patient population. This goal is a contributing factor to why Patient Safety Coordinators and certifications to become one are becoming more popular. Particularly, the goal speaks to the population that is at risk for suicide. While this goal is stated to apply only to psychiatric hospitals and patients being treated for emotional or behavioral issues, most all hospitals have at least a small population that could fit into this category.

While not every hospital has a psychiatric floor, or even a psychiatrist on call, patients that appear or make a statement that they fear harming others or themselves may be detained temporarily at the discretion of the medical staff. The terms and length varies from state to state. Georgia’s law, O. C. G. A. § 37-3-41 allows basically for a forty-eight hour detainment period. But, that can be extended indefinitely if the treating physician deems it necessary and appropriate based on their examination.

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