Keeping patients safe

Keeping patients safe during their stay in the hospital is a big priority for a team of people who work behind the scenes at Trinity Health in Minot. The Care Enhancement Team at Trinity Health, in observance of National Patient Safety Awareness Week, held a Safety Fair on March 5-6 in the Trinity Hospital Skywalk.

The Care Enhancement Team provides education to the staff at Trinity and politely coaches them on correcting errors if they are not following the correct procedures, explained Andrea Roedocker, regulatory standards coordinator for Trinity Health. The team has held safety fairs in the past and the fair seemed like a more interesting activity than sitting in a classroom, she continued. It wasn’t a requirement for the staff to attend the safety fair, Roedocker said, but some of the departments made it mandatory and all staff were encouraged to attend. The Care Enhancement Team also sent out informational packets from the safety fair to nearby rural hospitals.

The purpose of the safety fair was to increase understanding of patient safety in a hospital setting and provide top-of-mind awareness among Trinity Health staff regarding care practices that make care safer for patients, according to the news release.

Roedocker said this year’s Safety Fair was well-attended. On the first day of the fair, about 150 people attended and about 50 students from Minot High School were also in attendance, she added.

“The Safety Fair gives a different perspective on things and the possibility of hazards in patients’ rooms,” Roedocker noted.

Featured were information on the National Patient Safety Goals, stroke care and infection control. Also featured was a “Room of Horrors,” a mock hospital room set up with safety errors to challenge employees to spot and list as many safety errors as their trained eyes could detect. Roedocker said they have set up a room like that in the past and this time it was put together by clinical nurse educators. They thought of hazards they had seen in rooms in the past, she added. There were 21 things wrong in the mock hospital room, Roedocker noted, but other hazards were found along the way. Sample errors included improperly placed IV lines, outdated drugs, medication bottles with similar names next to one another, trash on the floor and a confidential patient record wide open for all to see.

“Safety is all about patient care, but we can’t forget about visitors and staff,” Roedocker said. “The ‘Room or Horrors’ helps to make it fun and humorous and gives the staff more of a hands-on experience than just sitting in the classroom.”

According to Roedocker, the Safety Fair was a teaching opportunity to the staff from the Care Enhancement Team and provided a comfortable setting for people to ask questions. The fair also opened their eyes to notice potential hazards in patients’ rooms, she added.

“We (the Care Enhancement Team) is constantly self-evaluating and trying to improve hospital and patient safety, then an outside agency comes in so procedures are highly regulated and constantly evolving,” Roedocker said.