Healthcare Facility Safety
Improve the Environment in Your Healthcare Facility
A healthcare facilities exterior should be clean and aesthetically pleasing and once guests and patients walk in the door, they should experience the same safe, clean and secure environment they were greeted with just a few steps beforehand. There are a few potentially overlooked safety aspects that could lead to incidents in healthcare facilities which would prevent a safe interior.
A small group of issues, if not addressed could lead to emergency situations and unsafe conditions for staff and those in your care. Incorporating a few changes like these can improve healthcare facility safety:
- Excessive Noise
- Equipment Storage
Although it doesn’t seem that noise could cause unsafe conditions in a healthcare facility, it has been linked to many issues of safety and security. For instance, excessive noise can cause impaired hearing between staff members caring for patients that result in mistaken medication administration or incorrect dosage. Or caregivers hear so many alarms and sounds that they become numb to it, potentially missing a serious alarm. By managing excessive noise, patient stress is reduced, anxiety is minimized, restfulness improves and caregivers are more alert. All these things are beneficial to the patient as well as the care team, which results in a decrease of incidents.
Often, healthcare facilities leave equipment in the hallways knowing that eventually the equipment will be used for a patient. Equipment could be extra beds, IV poles, monitors, etc. The storage of equipment should be kept to a minimum in common areas. The risk of unforeseen accidents is high and could include patients, visitors or staff being involved in a safety related accident. A caregiver turns the corner and trips over a monitor, not only is she potentially injured, but someone that needs her help is waiting. If the equipment was stored properly, this possible injury could have been avoided.
Healthcare facilities strive for impeccable cleanliness, but often appear cluttered which can be perceived as unclean. Take for instance a nurses station. Imagine that there are phones ringing and patient alarms are going off, the station is cluttered with patient files, doctor notes, reminders and emails are left open on the computers. Not only does this scene seem a little chaotic, but the safety aspect of disorder is important. The clutter can be unsafe for those nurses who are looking for important information but can’t locate it due to the layers of files and notes. It can also be dangerous to the safety of the patients by leaving their medical records easily seen by visitors who are walking by. Organizing the clutter gives the appearance of a clean healthcare facility and also keeps the confidentiality of the patients safe.
Now that you have the clutter organized, the real cleanliness is brought to light for your healthcare facility. This is more than just proper hand washing procedures; for example, public areas and waiting room should be kept free of trash that can sometimes be left behind. Patient rooms should be cleaned daily and as needed from there. After meals, trays should be taken to the appropriate area as not to attract unwelcome pests. The cleanliness of your healthcare facility is one of the most important areas that should not be overlooked to keep your facility safe for all patients, visitors and staff.
It is important to remember that unsafe conditions are possible even within the walls of a healthcare facility. Simply offering clean restrooms and having staff that follow proper hand washing procedures is not enough. By removing the excess noise, unnecessary equipment storage, clutter and improving cleanliness, you are setting the bar higher for the safety and security of each person that enters your healthcare facility.