It affects the health of more Canadians each year than breast cancer, motor vehicle accidents and AIDS combined. Could it be some dangerous, new disease? No, it’s actually something that happens in the very institutions where people hope to find relief from illness. What affects them is the preventable adverse events and medical errors that occur in hospitals—contributors to the deaths of 9,000 to 24,000 Canadians a year.
To sensitize healthcare professionals to the need to do more to safeguard the safety of patients, the Jewish General Hospital is hosting a series of in-house events during Patient Safety Week, throughout the week of November 4. By presenting its events immediately after Canadian Patient Safety Week (October 28-November 1), the JGH is giving its staff and the public an opportunity to benefit from both programs.
“Ensuring the safety of patients is a fundamental aspect of providing excellent quality care,” says Johanne Boileau, Interim Executive Director of the JGH. “Although the need for safety is highly promoted and intensively discussed during the several days of Patient Safety Week, staff are aware that safeguarding the well-being of patients is a 24-hour-a-day responsibility throughout the year. It is integral to the compassionate and patient-centred care that has been the JGH’s hallmark for decades.”
The JGH program will consist of lectures and a Safety Fair, featuring information kiosks, contests and presentations. Patient safety will also be promoted in various units across the hospital, with a team from the JGH Quality Program making the rounds and spreading awareness on the importance of safety and quality of care.
“The delivery of safe and quality care remains a top priority at the JGH,” says Markirit Armutlu, JGH Quality Program Coordinator. “Patient Safety Week provides us with the chance to highlight some of the projects already underway at the hospital, all the while raising the level of awareness to all those involved in patient care – from the healthcare workers to the patients and their families – so that future negative situations can be avoided and patient safety can be improved across Quebec and Canada.”
Patient safety is of fundamental importance at the JGH, whose Quality Program focuses on measuring the hospital’s performance in various areas and then rapidly developing action plans to improve the quality of care for patients and their families. The JGH Quality Program continually evolved since 1996, with members seeking ways of pioneering new safety initiatives and strengthening existing measures. It also helps to create an environment where activities to improve patient safety likelier to succeed.
During Canadian Patient Safety Week, the Canadian Patient Safety Institute is hosting presentations and discussions with leading experts in the field, all accessible online at no cost. Entitled “Canada’s Virtual Forum on Patient Safety and Quality Improvement”, the series will be presented French and English, and will feature 20 hours of live content broadcast to more than 2,000 sites in Canada and more than 20 countries around the world. Topics will include medical safety, changing hospital culture, empowering patients to become active in their care, and how hospital leaders can change institutions’ culture to embrace patient safety and quality improvement.