Martha Jefferson Healthwise: Caring Safely

April 2, 2014

Whether you're at the hospital to deliver a baby or get a routine test or imaging, Martha Jefferson Hospital wants to make sure you're safe during your stay.

That's why it's rolling out a new safety initiative called Caring Safely. It starts with an employee meeting involving staff from all departments of the hospital.

"Caring Safely is really a program to learn about tones and tools to learn about how we react and conduct ourselves with each other,” said Jennifer Gaines, RN and Nurse Educator, Martha Jefferson Hospital. “Often it can be difficult to correct or gently nudge a peer and especially when you're doing that to someone who is considered above you."

In the two hour training session, instructors are hoping to flatten the hierarchy and reinforce that everyone is a caregiver and that they are equally important to the safety of a patient. They also want to encourage employees to speak up if they question a certain behavior.

"So that an environmental services rep could say to a physician 'I'm sorry I think you just left that room without washing your hands' and feel equally as comfortable as a physician to physician," said Gaines.

Healthcare providers say keeping patients away from harm is a serious matter.

"Every year in America, over 100,000 people die from preventable harm," said Alison Hartman, Director of Performance Improvement, Martha Jefferson Hospital.

Gaines says those errors typically occur while performing routine job duties.

"There's things like that that we do in everyday healthcare every single day. One little tiny piece of the step that you were to miss: a simple form to fill out or a simple check of the I.D. band, those are highly important pieces. However, when you do it day after day after day, you sometimes don't think about the details," said Gaines.

However, with the new initiative in place, Hartman says patients are much safer.

"I think that what it brings to our hospital is a more safe secure environment. it makes it more comfortable for our employees to speak up but we also want our patients to feel very comfortable speaking up for their safety as well," said Hartman.

There will be a safety coach on every unit during every shift at the hospital to help fellow employees implement what they have learned during their training session.

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