World Patient Safety Day during COVID-19 pandemic

The safety of our patients, clients and caregivers is always our highest priority. World Patient Safety Day is celebrated yearly on 17 September to enhance patient safety and reduce patient harm, through greater engagement in health care safety.

15 Sep 2020

World Patient Safety Day 2020

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrust patient safety into the spotlight.

Worldwide, the pandemic has exerted unprecedented pressure on health systems and the knowledgeable, skilled and motivated health workforce that is critical for the provision of safe care to patients.

Our caregivers have risen to the challenge to not only keep our patients safe but ensure the best possible and compassionate experience. 

Physical distancing is the single best tool we have against COVID-19 and this can be difficult in the hospital environment. On the frontline, small steps such as staging meal breaks and foregoing human contact have contributed to keeping everyone safe. We are also now seeing video conferencing technology being used more broadly clinically for telehealth sessions in both community services and in hospitals. 

We know our teams are trained and prepared to use PPE, however the correct use including donning and doffing procedures, PPE spotters, and scrutiny over stock management has become more important and the new-normal in many of our hospitals. Caregivers at St John of God Berwick Hospital took it to an extra level by writing their name on their face shields to ensure patients could recognise who was caring for them. 

The web of patient safety and care extends beyond the hospitals and everyone has a role to play. Our supply and infection prevention and control teams constantly checking stock levels, sourcing alternative suppliers and sometimes testing and sourcing alternative products. 

Our planning and preparations continue at all hospitals and services with ongoing testing of processes. This includes mobilising our greater St John of God Health Care workforce to support COVID-19 initiatives across the country. 

Business as usual 

Despite COVID-19 we haven’t lost sight of the routine practice in our hospitals that ensures our patients are kept safe and cared for. We continue to improve, measure and benchmark against clinical indicators such as falls rates, pressure injuries, hand hygiene audits and infection prevention and control. 

These strategies, our clinical excellence, our compassion and now our management of COVID-19 is why our patients feel safe to continue to return to our facilities knowing they will also have a positive experience.

Image: Caregivers from St John of God Berwick Hospital dressed in personalised face shields

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