St. Vincent's Medical Center, Bridgeport, Connecticut

This institution trusts their safety staff and workforce to carry out studies of potential hazards and existing hazards and make sound recommendations for correction. The managers understand that the best recommendations come from those working within the areas where the specific procedures and equipment are being used. One such recommendation from a staff member was to use a safe enclosure bed instead of a sitter. This saved the institution a considerable amount of money and also reduced the number of falls of patients who typically wandered, were confused, or were aggressive.

A new program was established where staff members assumed responsibility for their colleagues and others. Now there are many pairs of eyes checking such things as working an excessive number of hours, which can result in poor decisions, health problems and injuries, or individuals not using appropriate hand-washing techniques, etc. This is extremely effective because all employees are looking out for the welfare of everyone else including patients.

St. Vincent’s has improved their communication of safety concerns by issuing safety alerts whenever something unusual occurs. For instance, when four sharp injuries were reported in a 6-day period instead of the usual one or two, an immediate alert went out to the entire hospital about the situation, reminding them of proper procedures for the use and disposal of sharps.

Because there is so much electronic equipment being used and cords can result in tripping and other types of injuries, a new program has been started where all excess cords must be tied together. Reaching for supplies on high shelves has caused falls and therefore step stools have now been put in appropriate places for employee use. The current locations of all hand-washing dispensers were evaluated and many of them were changed to new locations or there have been increases in hand dispensers to meet specific needs. Mobile patient equipment requires the use of heavy batteries which were causing injuries when they were being recharged. This was corrected by lowering the outlets to the level of the batteries.

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