Today marked the fourth annual WakeMed Patient Safety House of Horrors where nursing staff can learn how to identify and prevent mistakes before they happen. The Center for Innovative Learning staff, infection control, dietary, clinical analysis, and others helped stage mock food trays, nursing stations, patients in wheel chairs, and patients in beds using medical simulators. In total, there were more than 200 errors from patient identification issues to food allergies to wrong site surgeries.
The Patient Safety House of Horrors is a good learning experience for nurses, and it is important that everyone who works in health care be alert and aware of potential errors. But it is equally as important for patients and their loved ones to be on the lookout for potential errors while in the hospital as well.
You can expect your caregivers to:
- Wash their hands or use hand sanitizing gel before and after contact with you
- Administer the appropriate antibiotic before surgery to prevent infection
- Check your ID band prior to giving you medication, performing a procedure or taking blood
- Wear a WakeMed name badge and introduce themselves when they enter your room
- Explain all medications and procedures and answer any questions that you have in words that you understand
- Ask you several times what type of procedure you are having. If you are having surgery, your surgeon will sign initials at the surgery location just to make sure there is no confusion in the operating room.
- Label all specimens at your bedside (blood, etc.)
- Before any test or procedure, ask if it will require any dyes or medicines that you might be allergic to.
You can also help keep yourself safe by making sure to:
- Look at all medicines before you take them. If it looks different to you, ask why.
- Remind the nurse or doctor if you have allergies to any medications, dye, food or latex.
- Remind your caregiver to check your patient identification before giving you any medication or doing a procedure
- Ask you caregiver if they washed their hands before they come in contact with you.
- And, as always, ask questions if there is something you do not understand.
The Patient Safety House of Horrors is fun, interactive and memorable learning experience, but it has a very serious educational purpose, preventing medical errors.
Amar Patel is the manager of the WakeMed Center for Innovative Learning.