November 19, 2015

Ensuring Patient Safety

A main priority for healthcare providers is of course patient safety. Hospitals and the like are tasked with keeping patients well in addition to keeping them safe. Today, medical errors and hospital-acquired infections are a top cause of death.

This responsibility includes safety from infection as well as from falling and getting hurt.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 20 patients develops an infection while in a hospital. What’s the cause? Clinician contact with exposed surfaces, failure to consistently wash hands and lack of safety in hospital culture are culprits. Healthcare organizations know their populations are unique – the ill, the impaired, young, elderly, infection prone and anything in-between – and they are tasked with the “first, do no harm” philosophy.

Space design can support infection control processes by:

  • Creating a clinician zone at the room entrance featuring a sink and convenient alcohol-based hand cleaner to reinforce the need of handwashing
  • Specifying materials and surfaces that are easily cleaned and maintained, from high-performance upholstery to solid surface casework

However, it takes more than clean facilities and handwashing routines. We also have to consider precluding patient falls, which are the most common form of injury in hospitals around the world.

The transition from bed to chair is pivotal in a patient’s healthcare journey. Patient limitations and the number of transfers performed cause difficulty for clinicians. Aside from transfers, patients too need unimpeded access to their bathrooms and recliners. Getting the simple things right forms a strong foundation for safety and quality to thrive.

“More than ever, patient rooms are more than just a place for a bed and medical equipment,” says Michelle Ossmann, director of Healthcare Environments for Steelcase Health. “The patient room is where you have to get everything right for the patient, family members and clinicians. When you incorporate literature-based design principles and truly create a space that’s people-centric, everyone benefits.”

To learn more about protecting patient safety, check out product information on Empath – a recliner from Steelcase Health that protects patients and clinicians, designed from real-world observations.