Patient safety is a top priority at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. The World Health Assembly established World Patient Safety Day last year to highlight the importance of prioritizing and addressing patient safety globally. Now, we celebrate World Patient Safety Day each Sept. 17. This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it spotlights patient safety and health care in general more than ever.
To that end, here are seven ways families might not realize we’re keeping their child safe:
- What’s your date of birth? We routinely ask for the date of birth as part of confirming the identity of the patient to make sure medications and procedures are matched to the right child. Sometimes we call a “timeout” to bring the team together to confirm we have the right patient.
- Hand hygiene. Clinical team members wash their hands a lot, on the way into a child’s room, on the way out and often in between. This practice started well before COVID-19 to avoid cross-contaminating among patients or from a computer or mobile device to a patient. If you ever think a clinical team member hasn’t washed his or her hands, just ask.
- What’s with the socks? We ask patients to wear hospital-issued socks, which are designed to reduce the risk of slipping and falling.
- Check and recheck. Our pharmacy team routinely checks and confirms whether dosages are appropriate for the weight of the child, whether medications with similar names may have been confused and other backstops to avoid errors.
- Mindful of Sharps. Scalpels, needles and other sharp objects can become contaminated or pose dangers of sticking a clinical team member. We have special disposal systems for sharps and infectious waste.
- Simulation for Safety. Among the most common safety issues in health care are communication and teamwork. We have a 15-room Center for Medical Simulation and Innovative Education where we practice scenarios, procedures and teamwork with realistic high-fidelity mannequins. A 3D printer allows us to replicate a child’s anatomy, allowing us to simulate that child’s condition.
- Health Worker Safety. A theme of World Patient Safety Day this year is health worker safety because safe health workers lead to safe patients. The personal protective gear our team wears helps protect them so they can take the best care of the children.