Celebrating Patient Safety Awareness Week


Indiana hospitals highlight patient safety successes

Hospitals across the state educated staff, patients, and visitors on important safety topics during Patient Safety Awareness Week, March 11 – 17. An initiative of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement/National Patient Safety Foundation, Patient Safety Awareness Week is an opportunity for hospitals to highlight their patient safety successes and share the message that patient safety is everyone’s responsibility.

Indiana hospitals addressed patient safety issues in fun ways and empowered staff to take a more active role in building a culture of safety. Memorial Hospital of South Bend, for example, hosted a spring break-themed safety fair titled “Spring into Safety: Escape to Your Destination.” Staff members collected stamps on their patient safety passports by visiting the 14 booths, each of which had its own topic and destination. At the Hawaii-themed booth, staff learned how to clean up blood spills using Hawaiian Punch, and at the Jamaica-themed booth, the clinical alarms team used the tagline “Jamaican Me Crazy” to discuss the dangers of alarm fatigue. Staff turned in their completed passports to be entered into a drawing for a number of prizes, including an extra PTO day, free garage parking for a month, and a Kindle Fire.

“Typically safety is something that’s not fun to talk about. We figured out a way to make it fun,” said Betsy Smith, safety and accreditation coordinator.

Staff engagement was key at the three hospitals in the Central Indiana division of Franciscan Health. At the Indianapolis campus, all departments were invited to submit a poster highlighting their role in patient safety. The posters were displayed outside the cafeteria, and staff, physicians, and visitors voted for their favorite one. Everyone who voted was entered into a drawing for a gift card, and the department with the most votes won a party. In addition, the hospital set up a “Little Room of Patient and Staff Safety Horrors” where staff were asked to identify a number of safety risks, including frayed electrical cords, spills on the floor, and the improper use of safety rails. The Mooresville and Carmel campuses also had poster displays and prize drawings for gift cards.

“Patient safety is at the core of what every single person employed in health care does,” said Julie Glover, RN, director of patient safety at Franciscan Health. “In fact, most of the departments that submitted posters were not bedside departments. We had posters from environmental services, maintenance, and medical staff services, among others.”

Indiana University Health celebrated in a variety of ways at its 16 hospitals. Departments decorated megaphones to emphasize the importance of speaking up for safety. Members of the leadership team dressed in isolation gowns for a “Who Wore It Best?” activity where staff were asked to identify which executive wore the attire correctly. The daily broadcast email to staff focused on a different patient safety topic each day to encourage conversation at the individual hospitals. IU Health helped raise awareness on social media as well by posting a video featuring team members discussing their role in patient and safety and sharing photos from throughout the week using the hashtag #PatientSafetyatIUHealth.

“A lot of our activities were culture-building, which is a key piece of delivering safe care to our patients,” said Katherine Feley, D.N.P., RN, system director of patient safety.

Many hospitals used the materials IHA developed to help hospitals promote Patient Safety Awareness Week, including pop-up banners, hand sanitizer bottles, first-aid kits, table tents, and brochures.

“The IHA resources were wonderful. They helped hospitals across the state maintain a consistent message,” Glover said. “It was a very coordinated effort, and it drove home the point that Indiana hospitals do not compete on patient safety.”

IHA also took part in the celebrations. Staff from IHA’s Indiana Patient Safety Center (IPSC) highlighted five key patient safety issues—opioid abuse/misuse, medication safety, patient engagement, safe sleep practices, and hand hygiene—in interviews with RTV6 throughout the week.

View the videos and check out more ways hospitals recognized Patient Safety Awareness Week on IHA’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/INHospitalAssociation.