9 Patient Safety Tips

Articles the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS) have been reading the these past few weeks provide 11 patient safety tips.

#1 Patient Safety Tip – Lowering psychological distress may lower risks of arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and COPD

It has often been suggested that a person’s mood may affect that person’s physical health. A research team led by Catharine Gale, PhD, a professor at the University of Edinburgh and at MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, sought to provide to show the connection between one’s state of mind and physical health.

The researchers reviewed the clinical records of 16,485 individuals over a three-year period and sought and found that psychological distress increases the risk of arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD):

“The study showed that, compared with people who had no symptoms of psychological distress, those with low levels of distress had a 57% increased chance of having arthritis and those with moderate distress levels had a 72% increased chance. A similar pattern was reported regarding cardiovascular diseases, with low distress levels increasing the risk by 46% and moderate levels by 77%.

“When the researchers evaluated the risk of COPD development, they found that low levels of distress increased the risk of having the disease by 44%. Moderate and high levels of mental distress were associated with a 125% and 148% higher risk of COPD.”

Interesting research on the relationship between mental and physical health Click To Tweet

#3 Patient Safety Tip – Using a 1-hour sepsis care protocol lowers mortality in children

Sepsis guidelines all recommend prompt intervention whenever sepsis is diagnosed. A recent cohort study, “Association Between the New York Sepsis Care Mandate and In-Hospital Mortality for Pediatric Sepsis,” conducted by Idris V. R. Evans, MD, MSc and colleagues at Department of Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found a mortality benefit when three forms of sepsis management are initiated within an hour – blood cultures, broad-spectrum antibiotics, and intravenous fluid replacement. Doing so reduces risk of in-hospital mortality among children with sepsis.

Early intervention and management of #sepsis reduces patient death Click To Tweet

#3 Patient Safety Tip – Hospitals need to pay attention to safety recommendations – a mother’s life could depend on it

A USA Today investigation has found that hospitals are not implementing safety recommendations, which would reduce morbidity and mortality. They concluded:

As a result, women are left to bleed until their organs shut down. Their high blood pressure goes untreated until they suffer strokes. They die of preventable blood clots and untreated infections. Survivors can be left paralyzed or unable to have more children.

#3 Patient Safety Tip – Mandatory education and postoperative guidelines reduces the number of #opioid pills prescribed

A retrospective study by New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery looked at 731 procedures and found that “mandatory education and postoperative guidelines reduced the number of opioid pills prescribed after hand surgery by 45%.”

#4 Patient Safety Tip – Reducing opioids decreases most postoperative complications

Happy patients, lower malpractice – that’s the message from a recent article published in Physicians Practice:

“Avoiding malpractice suits is important for physicians across specialties. There is a correlation between patient satisfaction and risk of being sued; knowing how patients rate their physician can predict the risk of being sued and can allow physicians to reduce the risk.”

#5 Patient Safety Tip – Screen for #AFib – Hospitalized #COPD Patients with AFib More Likely to Develop Complications

In a recent study that looked at 2,646 people with COPD but without AFib from the National Health Insurance database in Taiwan, researchers found:

“Hospitalized patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who also suffer from atrial fibrillation (AFib), a condition where the heart beats faster, have a greater risk of developing liver disease and respiratory failure compared to those not affected by AFib.”

#6 Patient Safety Tip – Proper patient positioning will protect patients’ skin from avoidable harm

Are You Doing Enough to Prevent Pressure Ulcers?” that’s the question that a recent Outpatient Surgery article asks and advises:

“Develop an evidence-based checklist for patient positioning and make sure all staff follow the steps consistently. Set aside time to educate your staff about preventing pressure injuries based on proven standards of care that are comprehensive, current and clear — your staff should have documented annual competencies for pressure injury prevention.”

#7 Patient Safety Tip – Follow these guidelines for pain management when providing IV #ketamine

Regional Anesthesia and Acute Pain published the first consensus guidelines for pain management when providing IV ketamine. Wide use of ketamine has prompted the need for issuing these guidelines:

“Ketamine infusions have been used for decades to treat acute pain, but a recent surge in usage has made the infusions a mainstay of treatment in emergency departments, in the perioperative period in individuals with refractory pain, and in opioid-tolerant patients. The widespread variability in patient selection, treatment parameters, and monitoring indicates a need for the creation of consensus guidelines.”

#8 Patient Safety Tip – Avoid These Dangerous Technology Device Hazards

ECRI Institute recently published 2019 Top 10 Health Technology Hazards, naming these issues as the top ten:

  1. Hackers Can Exploit Remote Access to Systems, Disrupting Healthcare Operations
  2. “Clean” Mattresses Can Ooze Body Fluids onto Patients
  3. Retained Sponges Persist as a Surgical Complication Despite Manual Counts
  4. Improperly Set Ventilator Alarms Put Patients at Risk for Hypoxic Brain Injury or Death
  5. Mishandling Flexible Endoscopes after Disinfection Can Lead to Patient Infections
  6. Confusing Dose Rate with Flow Rate Can Lead to Infusion Pump Medication Errors
  7. Improper Customization of Physiologic Monitor Alarm Settings May Result in Missed Alarms
  8. Injury Risk from Overhead Patient Lift Systems
  9. Cleaning Fluid Seeping into Electrical Components Can Lead to Equipment Damage and Fires
  10. Flawed Battery Charging Systems and Practices Can Affect Device Operation

Which of ECRI’s 2019 top technology hazards concerns you the most?

#8 Patient Safety Tip – Using Muscle Relaxants During Anesthesia May Increase Risk of Postoperative Pulmonary Complications

In a recent study involving patients from 211 hospitals in 28 European countries, who received general anesthesia for any in-hospital procedure except cardiac surgery, researchers found that “the use of neuromuscular blocking agents was associated with an increased incidence of postoperative pulmonary complications in patients who had undergone general anesthesia.”

Consider these 9 tips to improve patient safety.

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