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Hospitals introduce family-activated rapid response programs

Kent and Women & Infants hospitals, both members of the Care New England health care system, recently unveiled programs designed to empower patients and families to call for immediate action if they have concerns about the care being given to a patient.

These rapid response programs called the Family Activated Safety Team (FAST) at Kent and the Patient and Family Hotline at Women & Infants will serve as a resource for patients and family members who feel that the patient is not receiving proper medical attention or there is a breakdown in communication with members of the care team.

"Providing safe, quality care for our patients and their families is Kent Hospital's top priority and the new FAST program is designed to further enhance the quality of care we provide," said Kent President and CEO Sandra Coletta. "I am confident this will serve to provide for greater communications and understanding between families, caregivers and the medical team."

"We believe that our patients and family members are important members of the health care team and we welcome their input in the care process," added Raymond Powrie, MD, senior vice president for Quality and Clinical Effectiveness at Women & Infants. "It is vital that patients and families feel empowered to raise concerns or pose questions of their caregivers and, therefore, be advocates for patient safety. It is equally important that there is recourse if they feel their voice is not being heard."

The new hotlines are accessible from hospital telephones 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When someone calls the hotline, the operator will immediately dispatch a medical team to the patient's room within minutes. At Women & Infants, a clinical supervisor responds and calls for other support as needed.

The hotlines should be called if there is a noticeable change in the patient's condition and the health care team does not recognize the change or the patient or family members feel that their concerns about patient care are not being heard by the health care team. In addition to the initial response triggered by a call to the hotlines, the response team will update the patient/caregivers on the care plan and a follow-up meeting will be scheduled within 24 hours to ensure that all issues have been addressed and resolved.

The creation of the FAST program is the latest in a series of life-saving programs that have seen dramatic results in patient care and outcomes at Kent Hospital. They include the implementation of the Stroke Team, Rapid Response Team, Sepsis Team and Therapeutic Hypothermia treatment.

At Women & Infants, the Patient and Family Hotline is another example of the hospital's commitment to a culture of safety that embraces the input of the patient and those she considers family.


Contact: Susan McDonald
Women & Infants Hospital

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