One in every ten patients is harmed while receiving hospital care in high-income countries,” says the WHO fact sheet report 2019 on patient safety awareness.
According to a 2018 National Institute of Health report, “Daily, 134 million adverse events occur in hospitals in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), due to unsafe care, resulting in 2.6 million deaths.”
Another study has estimated that; “Around two-thirds of all adverse events resulting from unsafe care, and the years lost to disability and death (known as disability-adjusted life years, or DALYs) occur in LMICs.”
And yet, we hope, “now that our beloved is in the safe hands of the healthcare system, we can hope for a speedy recovery.” And yet again, we lose our dear to the hands of the system.
The above statistics explain why we need to promote National Patient Safety Awareness Week more to encourage education on the healthcare system and its services.
National Patient Safety Awareness Week — Why Do We Celebrate It?
National Patient Safety Awareness Week is celebrated each year in March, and this year, it takes place from March 13 to 19.
Throughout the said event, several national education campaigns will take place to:
- Promote patient safety practices,
- encourage healthcare safety awareness,
- Develop educational programs on patient safety for all category healthcare staff and professionals, and
- Prevent harm to the patient through unintentional negligence or medical errors.
Patient safety and security breach have become an international issue. The WHO report shows over 26 million deaths have occurred due to unsafe healthcare systems in developed and developing countries.
Given the large number, it is now crucial to address this issue globally and understand how a patient’s safety is breached.
Common Patient Safety Issues in a Healthcare Facility
Hospital and healthcare system errors are the third leading cause of patient death, after cancer and heart disease.
The following are the common patient safety concerns burdening the healthcare systems globally:
Surgical errors and unsafe surgical practices
According to a WHO survey, 7 million patients suffer complications after surgery, among which 1 million deaths have occurred due to postsurgical complications.
The mortality cases were due to unsafe practices or (somewhat) unintentional negligence during surgeries, such as; leaving gauze or instruments inside the patients or using unsanitary tools for medical procedures.
Errors in diagnosing patients with wrong diseases are one of the common causes of breaching the safety of patients in a healthcare facility. Diagnostic errors are estimated to occur up to 5% in outpatient care settings, more than half of which lead to severe harm.
Medication and Drug Errors
Healthcare professionals are globally recognized for administering drugs wrongly to patients. It is said that the cost associated with medication errors estimates at about US $26 billion each year.
A drug or medication error includes:
- administrating the wrong medications to the wrong patient,
- giving expired drugs to the patients,
- administrating drug dosages above or below the recommended or required level,
- continuing drug dosages for an unjustified period, and
- prescribing anti-bacterial drugs for treating the viral infection or disease
The two biggest HAIs identified are post-surgery or operation wound infections and catheter-associated urinary tract infections. According to a report, seven out of ten in every 100 hospital patients have been diagnosed with HAIs in low- and middle-income countries.
HAIs are typically associated with the devices and tools used in any medical procedure. Doctors or surgeons transmit germs from unclean and unsanitized surfaces to the hands of the patient, attacking their immunity system.
Blood testing errors generally occur when performing unnecessary blood analyses and handing the wrong laboratory reports to the patients.
Unsafe IVs and Injections Practices
Spread of communicable diseases, such as Hepatitis B and C, HIV, and other viral infections, is possible in healthcare settings. These infections can transmit from healthcare workers to the patients or vice versa upon direct contact.
How to Ensure Patient Safety In Healthcare Facilities?
Based on certain studies, the number of fatalities is expected to increase. Without prompt action to enhance the healthcare system, these substandard patient care methods will persist in producing disabilities, injuries, or unfavorable prognoses.
Here’s how you can ensure patient safety in healthcare facilities:
Promoting Patient Safety Education and Communication
After going through all the facts and figures, the need to promote general awareness among healthcare professionals and the general public has become crucial. We should initiate and implement guidelines and policies immediately to prevent another death from being reported.
Engaging Patients and Families For Safer Healthcare System
According to recent research, engaging patients in their health care leads to a better quality of health and recovery. Guidelines focused on engaging families in a patient‘s healthcare have proven to provide safe continuity of a patient‘s care in a facility.
Upgrading System Technology and Safety Devices
The evolution of technology has minimized the burden on mankind drastically. Human defense, security, and safety have been catered through and by technology for ages. However, the need for upgrades always remains stagnant to ensure maximum security and safety.
In a hospital, a working healthcare monitoring system is only possible through the intellectual and practical use of technology and tools. Encourage better cleaning and sanitation practices to eliminate patient safety burdens efficiently.
Speaking of technology and its efficient use, wearing a personal safety device can help minimize your chances of involving yourself in an emergency or help you get out of it.
Given the average ambulance (late) response in the US, i.e., eight minutes, the Silent Beacon panic button can help you immediately reach out to your dear ones when seeking a medical emergency.
Moreover, you can use the free emergency messaging and calling options in the Silent Beacon application that allow you to send text, push notifications, and call all your emergency contact lists simultaneously.
With National Patient Safety Awareness Week approaching, it is time to focus on improving the global statistics of patient mortality rates in healthcare settings.
This can be achieved by spreading awareness and education on the need to improve healthcare practices, as well as implementing policies for a sound and effective healthcare system.
The use of technology, such as Silent Beacon, can provide an extra layer of protection for patients and healthcare professionals. Let’s work together to create a safer healthcare environment for all.