CHI St. Gabriel’s Health is joining hospitals across the United States to celebrate National Patient Safety Week (March 12 – March 18). Each year, the National Patient Safety Foundation designates a week to highlight and celebrate patient safety. This year’s theme is “United for Patient Safety.”

“Patient safety is a top priority at CHI St. Gabriel’s Health,” says CHI St. Gabriel’s Health director of quality Cathline Helstrom. “We are committed to creating a safe environment for our patients and incorporating patient safety into everything we do as we care for those in our community. The theme this year “United for Patient Safety” fits perfectly with our SafetyFirst program.”

SafetyFirst, which began in 2012, is a systematic approach to providing the safest care for patients. The program provides staff with the tools, resources, freedom, and encouragement needed to report potential hazards. Through the implementation of SafetyFirst, the organization has established the goal of zero avoidable adverse health events by the year 2020.

Employees at CHI St. Gabriel’s Health have embraced the SafetyFirst program. “The leaders within the organization and all employees have a deep care and concern for the patients who come here,” says Helstrom. “Morning huddles provide the opportunity to discuss potential safety concerns, which is one of the cornerstones of the program. These huddles are an indication of the cultural shift towards a focus on patient safety.”

The program is seeing positive outcomes. “SafetyFirst works because it empowers staff to identify potential issues and develop solutions,” says Helstrom. “Staff have identified potential issues which have resulted in the implementation of safer practices.”

To reach the goal of zero avoidable adverse health events by 2020, department leaders have decided to focus upstream to decrease “precursor” events. “These are health events that are errors, but don’t cause harm to patients,” says Helstrom. “Managers and staff will work together to identify where these events are happening, what is causing them, and then develop and implement an action plan for prevention.”

Best practices and teamwork are key components of patient safety. “In health care, we are always challenged by time and patient adherence to safe practices,” says Helstrom. “But we know if we work together and follow evidence-based practices each and every time, we can be successful. There is no doubt our employees have a passion for optimal patient care and the commitment necessary to meet our safety goals.”

To learn more about National Patient Safety Week, visit www.UnitedforPatientSafety.org. You may also contact Cathline Helstrom at 631-5626 or email cathlinehelstrom@catholichealth.net.

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