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Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority Raises Consumer Awareness During National Patient Safety Awareness Week
Date:3/9/2009

Consumer information distributed to encourage patients and their families to participate in their healthcare

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority is raising consumer awareness during Patient Safety Awareness Week (March 8-14) by promoting its consumer tip sheets and brochures, derived from data received from healthcare facilities through the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System (PA-PSRS).

"National Patient Safety Week allows everyone to pause and rethink how much we can do in our daily practice as a patient or as a healthcare provider to improve patient safety," Fran Charney, director of Educational Programs at the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority said. "A recent survey shows that more Pennsylvanians are participating in their healthcare. Having the patient engaged and an active team member in their care and treatment is an incalculable value to their healthcare team."

The consumer tip sheets cover a variety of topics that include: knowing the difference between do-not-resuscitate orders and a living will, medication errors, falls, infections, color-coded wristbands and the importance of knowing your medical history. Packets of the consumer tip sheets and brochures were sent this week to the Pennsylvania State Legislature for distribution in their district offices. Packets were also sent to the Area Agencies on Aging in Pennsylvania. The Authority collaborated as well with the Consumer Health Coalition in Pittsburgh to make the consumer information available. All of the consumer tip sheets can be found on the Authority's website at www.patientsafetyauthority.org.

Also on the Authority's website patients and their loved ones can review several links containing information specifically for the public such as an entire website (consumermedsafety.org) devoted to helping prevent medication errors. The information is provided by the Authority's subcontractor the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP).

The Authority distributed the "Speak Up"(TM) brochure developed by the Joint Commission that also encourages the patient to take a more active role. Several legislators and other healthcare facilities and organizations have used the brochure to make their publics more aware of what they can do to prevent medical errors.

"Communication breakdowns are at the root of thousands of events we see in our data," Charney said. "While it can be difficult for patients to question their doctor or nurse, it is important for them to do so. Conversely, healthcare practitioners need to empower their patients to feel comfortable communicating with them."

Patient Safety Awareness Week is a national observance sponsored by the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) as an education and awareness-building campaign for improving patient safety at the local level. The theme for this year's commemoration is "A Prescription for Patient Safety: One Partnership, One Team." NPSF has made available literature, videos, handouts and other materials to assist healthcare institutions and professionals in encouraging patients to become more actively involved in their healthcare.


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority
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