When a child is entrusted to our care, we can never be too vigilant about that child’s well being. And that starts with ensuring the highest level of safety. As a world leader in pediatric medicine, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has long embraced its responsibility to advance patient safety as the cornerstone to improving children’s health. That begins with the dedication and commitment of our people.
At CHOP, safety is more than a philosophy — it’s a core value. That’s why we’ve put in place a series of rigorous safety checks and balances. Drawing upon clinical expertise, advanced technology, a heightened sense of teamwork and simple common sense, staff at all levels have developed innovative systems to prevent mistakes and catch errors before they ever harm patients. Some of these steps include:
Simulation Training: Nurses and respiratory therapists use simulation mannequins to practice safe care for patients. The mannequin reacts in the same way a child would. This exercise allows team members to practice responding to potential emergencies, such as a trach tube being dislodged.
Anticoagulants: Anticoagulant medicines can play a vital role in a child’s treatment. But they are among the drugs most often associated with harmful errors. CHOP requires that a dedicated pharmacist review blood tests and exact dosages daily for each patient on anticoagulants to ensure the child realizes the benefits of this treatment without any complications.
Transparency: In order involve families in our safety efforts, we carefully explain safety precautions and encourage parents to speak up if they see anything they feel could be unsafe for their child. Intensive care units display how long each unit has gone without a central line-associated bloodstream infection so everyone — patients, families and employees — knows how that unit is doing.
Infection Prevention: As part of the Hospital-wide effort to eliminate central line-associated bloodstream infections, physicians and nurses must wear sterile gowns, masks and gloves before accessing a central line (to inject medicine or change dressings, for example). To make sure each step in the protocol is observed, another nurse will review a checklist: Was the warning sign posted on the door? Did everyone don sterile garb? Did the nurse scrub the area for 15 seconds with alcohol, and then allow it to dry?
Executive Safety Rounds: In order to personally learn about the challenges clinicians face in keeping CHOP patients safe, an administrator and medical leader are paired to conduct monthly safety rounds in a unit. That way, they can observe firsthand any issues so they can direct resources where needed. In addition, staff on the unit know their patient-safety efforts have support from the top.
Antibiotics: During their stay, some patients may receive an antibiotic. Our medical team makes sure the right drug will be used for the specific infection, given for the proper amount of time and by the most appropriate method to treat the child in the safest possible way. CHOP’s Antimicrobial Stewardship Program strives to improve patient outcomes, lower the risk of adverse events and reduce resistance to antibiotics by helping care providers make data-driven decisions.
By empowering our staff, and providing them with the resources they need, we’re able to create a safer environment for our patients.