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Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority Supports 'National Patient Safety Day'
Date:7/24/2009

The Authority offers patients consumer tips and encourages facilities to implement guidance in Patient Safety Advisories for improved patient safety

HARRISBURG, Pa., July 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority supports "National Patient Safety Day," Saturday, July 25, which is a national effort to encourage patients and their families to take an active role in their healthcare.

Pulse of PA is a member of this grassroots collaboration effort of patient safety advocates based throughout the country and internationally. This year the group is asking that all patient advocates observe a moment of silence at 6 p.m. in their time zone and drive with their headlights on. The "Candlelight Moment of Silence and Hope" is this year's theme to remember patients and families who have lost their life (or quality of life) to medical errors.

The Authority encourages patients to participate in their own healthcare by following guidance in "Consumer Tip" sheets. The tip sheets provide information on how patients can help reduce the risk of medical mistakes occurring to them while they are being treated in the healthcare arena. The consumer tips are based upon real life medical errors that have either occurred or were prevented in Pennsylvania healthcare facilities and published in Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisories.

"A patient's number one role is to get well," Mike Doering, executive director of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, said. "However, through our data we know that sometimes patients are harmed due to medical errors. Our data also shows that patients and their families can help prevent errors by providing as much information as possible and asking questions while receiving medical treatment."

Topics of the consumer tips include how to prevent: infections, wrong-site surgery, falls and medication errors. The tips also give patients information on the importance of knowing their medical history, knowing what to expect when taking antibiotics and the risks associated with MRIs (medical resonance images).

Patients and their loved ones are also encouraged to participate in their healthcare by "speaking up" or asking questions and providing any additional information that may be helpful in treating them. The Authority re-published the "Speak Up"(TM): Help Prevent Errors in Your Care" brochure, originally published by The Joint Commission, that gives consumers useful information on how they can assure quality care for themselves and their loved ones. Some tips include:

Speak up if you have questions or concerns, and if you don't understand ask again. It's your body and you have a right to know.

Pay attention to the care you are receiving. Make sure you're getting the right treatments and medications by the right health care professionals. Don't assume anything.

Educate yourself about your diagnosis, the medical tests you are undergoing, and your treatment plan.

Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate.

Know what medications you take and why you take them. Medication errors are the most common health care mistakes.

Use a hospital, clinic, surgery center, or other type of health care organization that has undergone a rigorous on-site evaluation against established, state-of-the-art quality and safety standards.

Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the health care team.

The Authority also encourages healthcare facilities to make the consumer tips available and to read and implement guidance from the award-winning Patient Safety Advisory. The Advisory is a quarterly publication based on actual serious events and near misses that are reported by Pennsylvania healthcare facilities to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority. All data is reviewed and analyzed. Each Advisory article contains clinical guidance about process improvements that facilities can adopt to improve patient safety and reduce potential harm.

"The Patient Safety Advisory is the end product of what the Authority has learned through the data collected," Doering said. "Through the guidance provided in the Advisory, the Patient Safety Liaison program and educational sessions and conferences, we're working to improve patient safety for those who use Pennsylvania's healthcare facilities."

For more information on Pulse of PA go to www.pulseofpa.org. For more information on the Patient Safety Authority, the Patient Safety Liaison program and consumer tips information go to www.patientsafetyauthority.org.


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority
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