FORT BRAGG, N.C --Patient safety is a top priority for Womack Army Medical Center (WAMC), whose staff play a vital role in ensuring the safety of patients, visitors, and other staff members.
To promote this culture of safety, WAMC employs Ready Reliable Care, a Defense Health Agency strategic priority to drive home better outcomes for patients, staff, and the enterprise. WAMC has designated Patient Safety ambassadors who advocate for patient safety. Kriestin Kleinschmidt, inpatient case management and utilization management supervisor, and Jermaine Hall, supervisory medical assistant, Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinic, are patient safety ambassadors.
Some of their responsibilities are:
- Observing and reporting unsafe practices.
- Providing support and education to patients and their family members about their rights and responsibilities.
- Facilitating open communication between patients, families, and health care providers.
- Collaborating with other members of the health care team, to develop and implement policies and procedures.
Examples of patient safety provided by the ambassadors include:
- Identifying patients at risk for falling.
- Completing a patient safety report if a patient slips and falls.
- Observing and reporting findings of loose rails in the hallway.
It’s a requirement of all staff to use the seven Ready Reliable Care Principles, preoccupation with failure, sensitivity to operations, deference to expertise, respect for people, commitment to resilience; constancy of purpose and reluctance to simplify, to guide their work. Applying these principles contributes to the four Ready Reliable Care Domains of Change: leadership commitment, culture of safety, continuous process improvement and patient centeredness.
In Kleinschmidt’s role, she assists in discharge planning during transitions of care. She explains deference to expertise and how it relates to patient safety.
“Patient safety is a team effort, no one is expected to know every aspect of medical treatment, therefore it is imperative to include members who have expertise in multi-disciplinary team discussions.”
According to Kleinschmidt, with patient safety concerns being a top priority, WAMC is taking different steps to improve patient safety when addressing treatment plans and transition of care.
“When an error is made, a very intensive process is followed to prevent reoccurrence,” said Kleinschmidt.
Patients and family members can ensure that safe care is provided through clear communication.
“Always disclose every aspect of your medical history and ask questions of your healthcare team if you do not understand something,” said Kleinschmidt.
Hall’s responsibilities include ensuring each patient receive the administrative assistance they need upon contact. This may include the proper scheduling of a patient’s appointment or contacting a nursing staff or provider through messaging and other means of communication. This ensures that patients concerns are addressed and resolved in a timely manner.
Hall shares how the Ready Reliable Care concept, ‘Respect for People’ relates to patient safety.
“Treat patients the way you want to be treated, if something is a safety hazard for staff, then it is the same for the patient,” said Hall. “Address the situation at hand and don’t ignore it, because it could lead to a potential injury that was avoidable.”
Hall is aware of the strategies that WAMC uses to improve patient safety:
- Educating staff on what could be a potential safety hazard.
- Providing precautionary signage as needed.
- Updating memorandums.
- Facilitating the necessary trainings to educate or reiterate patient safety awareness around the hospital.
The National Patient Safety Goals Rodeos are one way Womack staff are re-educated on patient identification, infection prevention, staff communication improvements, patient safety risks identification; surgery mistakes prevention, and how to use medicines and alarms safely.
WAMC’s mission is to provide safe, high-quality care, ensuring zero harm to patients, staff, and visitors.