THE STARTING POINT FOR ACTION
NEW SERIES Five Questions For... John T. James, Ph.D
What’s the latest thinking on patient safety from leading experts and family advocates who have experienced hospital harm? To answer that question, The Center for Patient Protection is talking with the top movers and shakers on subjects that are of vital importance to patients, families and everyone who values safe care, delivered in a transparent setting and free from the staggering human and financial costs of preventable medical harm. Read the full interview.
The Center for Patient Protection is an independent champion of safer healthcare, helping patients and families become informed, engaged and protected in their hospital experience. We advocate and build initiatives and practices to promote patient safety and family well-being in their vital patient support role, work with the best providers in transforming adverse experiences into teachable lessons that yield safer care for everyone, and promote greater disclosure of medical errors and safety performance indicators to combat the epidemic of hospital harm that claims half-a-million patients in the United States and Canada each year. More about us...
Learn about the epidemic of hospital harm that takes 500,000 patients in U.S. and Canadian hospitals every year and injures millions more. Explore the issue on our website and by clicking the links to recommended resources and further reading. View the videos we have collected. Write your elected representatives and ask what they are doing to make patients care safer and to end the epidemic of hospital harm. Read about the mother of The Center’s founder, who had more medical errors inflicted on her than anyone in patient safety history, and who is now the inspiration for our campaign to combat hospital harm and make Patient Protection 1st℠.
Information is power. In the healthcare setting, it can mean the difference between life and death. Most of the patients and families we have spoken with over the years expressed a similar thought: If only they had known about the risks posed to them or to a loved one in the hospital, they would have been much more vigilant, more questioning and more engaged. Too many who were affected by hospital harm find themselves racked by remorse and anger that they were not.
Don’t let you or your family be among them.
A safe patient is a questioning patient who understands the reality of today’s healthcare system and, especially, its hospital setting. It is also a patient who has the benefit of a vigilant family or advocate who knows that they, too, are a vital part of a loved one’s healthcare safety net.
Whether you are a patient or a family member, let your healthcare providers know that you are aware of the serious problem of medical errors that claims half-a-million patients in U.S. and Canadian hospitals every year and results in 40,000 incidents of harm every day.
Medical errors that lead to injury and death occur at every stage of the hospitalization process. They include medication errors, infections from various types of pneumonia to C. difficile, pressure ulcers, falls, and mistakes in surgery that see towels and sponges left in the patient or even operations on the wrong patient entirely.
Tell your providers firmly, but politely — or have a family member or advocate tell them — that you don’t intend to become another statistic. Let them know that you expect every step will be taken by the hospital and those who perform care to put your safety, and respect for the role of your family in your hospitalization, first in everything they do. The links below provide a good starting point for learning what is involved in the required standard of safe care.
You can also check out our Ten Reasons for Making Patient Protection 1st℠, which sets out the kind of care you are entitled to expect and the best providers always deliver.
When it comes right down to it, no patient or family can ever be expected to know all the steps that can and should be taken in their care; but they can and should expect that healthcare workers and professionals do and will. Nor can they know all the evidenced-based recommendations and best practices that should be followed for their safety; but they are entitled to rely upon providers and professionals to follow them. There is no substitute for a healthcare culture that actually makes Patient Protection 1st℠, and is committed to delivering the highest standards of transparency and accountability necessary to achieve it.
Making sure that more patients and families insist upon a safer healthcare culture, and more providers adopt it, is the driving force behind the creation of The Center for Patient Protection and its campaign to make Patient Protection 1st℠.
There’s a good reason why hospital harm is everybody’s business. One way or another, we all pay the costs of medical errors — as patients and families, consumers, employers and taxpayers. If we’re lucky, we’ll just pay in higher health insurance premiums or increased taxes. Medical errors in hospitals add tens of billions of dollars to healthcare bills every year. Some actuarial experts have put the total figure, including direct and indirect costs, at closer to one trillion dollars annually. But the sad fact is that many of us pay for this avoidable epidemic with much more than higher insurance premiums and tax bills. We pay for it with the lives of loved ones and the devastation of families.
Take a look at our projects and causes. Decide if there are any you would like to become involved with. Become a champion of patient safety yourself. Let us know how you would like to help. If you have a story about medical harm, consider sharing it. Help promote our campaign to make Patient Protection 1st℠ your web site or blog, or on Twitter, Facebook and other social media. Tell us about your ideas to end the epidemic of hospital harm and how we can improve our message here.
Together, we can shine a disinfecting spotlight where it belongs: on the devastation caused by the epidemic of hospital harm and the steps needed to end it — starting with what works best for patients and families, and by making Patient Protection 1st℠ in every aspect of care.
What do patients and families want when it comes to healthcare, and especially, during a hospital stay? The Center for Patient Protection believes that is a question that needs to occupy the attention of more healthcare providers and professionals.
We spoke with patients and families around the world, sought the views of renowned experts, and studied thousands of pages of patient safety literature in the field. When it comes right down to it, what patients and families want is really quite simple. Above all, they want patient safety, first, last and always. More ...
Why Patients and Families Need Patient Protection 1stSM
Reason # 10
It’s called health care -- not health harm.
Reason # 9
Hospital-acquired infections never send a calling card before they show up in a patient’s room. But patients and families will always know after they’ve arrived.
Reason # 8
You're a professional healthcare worker who has a problem remembering to perform hand hygiene before and after patient contact. Have you seen Reason #9 above? Do you need to consider another line of work? More...
A Regular Series that Looks at the Most Common Forms of Medical Injury
#1 | PRESSURE ULCERS
Of all the serious types of hospital harm, pressure ulcers form the largest single category. They injure more than 2.5 million patients in U.S. and Canadian hospitals each year, claim at least 60,000 lives and add more than $11 billion annually in treatment costs to the healthcare system in the U.S. alone. Most of these injuries, deaths and costs are avoidable. Read more...
(Published in The Huffington Post, May 20, 2015) A government agency in Ontario has called for nursing homes in that province to re-evaluate their use of antipsychotic medications like quetiapine (marketed under the brand name Seroquel). Health Quality Ontario says more than 60 percent of residents in some nursing homes are receiving Seroquel and other drugs […]
What’s the latest thinking on patient safety from leading experts and family advocates who have experienced hospital harm? To answer that question, The Center for Patient Protection is talking with the top movers and shakers on subjects that are of vital importance to patients, families and everyone who values safe care, delivered in a transparent setting and […]
A safe patient is an informed patient. In today’s world, that means having the information we need to make informed healthcare choices. Nowhere is this more important than in the hospital setting. In the United States, the move to make hospitals safer has spun a virtual cottage industry of rating systems that score hospitals on […]
They don’t wear scrubs or carry stethoscopes. None I know trained for their current role, and clearly all would have preferred to have avoided the circumstances that thrust it upon them. Yet, every day, they battle to make the world safer for patients and more compassionate for their families. And the facts show they are […]
(Published in the Huffington Post May 8, 2015) One night several years ago, when my mother was in her fourth month of hospitalization and in critical condition, I noticed that she hadn’t received her evening medications. It was getting late. The pills and open vials of medication had been sitting in the corridor outside her room […]
An investigation by Canada’s largest regulator of pharmacists found that a hospital in south-central Ontario was allowing an unregulated pharmacy assistant to work in its pharmacy without required supervision by a licensed pharmacist. The work included entering doctor’s prescriptions into the computer prior to being sent to the nursing floor. The investigation followed complaints that an […]
The Center is guided in everything we do by what we call The Lorraine Finlay Healing Healthcare Virtues℠ of Prudence, Hope, Respect, Compassion, Patience, Diligence, Integrity, Openness, Fairness, Kindness towards all. They are named after the mother of The Center's founder, who experienced more documented medical errors during her six-month hospitalization than any patient in the history of patient safety literature. These are the values that personal experience, research and conversations with patients and families around the world have told us are pivotal in delivering safer, more affirming care. Read full story...