CHOOSE YOUR ADVOCATE FOR PATIENT SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK
March 10th to March 16th 2019 is Patient Safety Awareness Week
According to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Patient Safety Awareness Week is an annual recognition event intended to encourage everyone to learn more about health care safety.
Studies suggest that medical error may cause as many as 400,000 deaths in the US each year, and not all errors result in death.
Many healthcare professionals focus on patient safety and since 2002 The National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) (and now IHI) focus on patient safety through a campaign called Patient Safety Awareness Week, aimed at raising awareness about the numbers of injuries and deaths caused each year by medical errors.
Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy (CPSEA) — teaching patient safety in the community for over twenty years — was there from the beginning.
“I was thrilled that our patient safety leaders were willing to bring patient safety out of the hospitals and into the community,” explains Ilene Corina, one of the people who started Patient Safety Awareness Week. “But not enough is happening where the public is involved.”
Corina, President of Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy, sees that there is not enough patient and family involvement. She believes the public needs to start taking personal responsibility for their own safety. One way is to choose a care partner or advocate early, before they are needed, because once a medical crisis hits, that may become difficult or impossible. So why not make Patient Safety Awareness Week the occasion to choose your own advocate?
Marissa Abram, PhD, Board Chair of Pulse CPSEA and a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, recognizes the need for patients to choose an advocate early. “Especially when it comes to medication and understanding your care plan, it’s helpful to have someone who can be part of your care team and know ahead of time that they are your support person.”
“However,” Corina adds, “the closest family member may not be the best advocate. Objectivity, stability, and a calm attention to detail are more important traits.”
Corina has been teaching patient safety advocacy in the community since 2006 and encourages patients and families to understand their role in patient safety. “Because this is so important, we don’t charge for helping the patient and family when there is a breakdown in communication and their safety is in jeopardy,” Corina explains. “We are here to build support and understanding, not to reinforce the silos that already exist”.