Over the last several years, Kindred Healthcare has been working to develop a culture of safety. “Our Culture of Safety Steering Committee has recently developed and implemented a number of new projects,” says Patricia McGillan, Vice President of Patient Safety and Regulatory Compliance, Kindred Healthcare Hospital Division.

 Patricia McGillan is the Vice President of Patient Safety and Regulatory Compliance, Kindred Healthcare Hospital Division. Patricia McGillan is the Vice President of Patient Safety and Regulatory Compliance, Kindred Healthcare Hospital Division.

The steering committee has developed a poster campaign to raise staff awareness about safety issues. The campaign is built around four “I’s”:

  1. Inquire: Is this activity safe?
  2. Inform: Never worry alone. If you see an unsafe condition or concern, speak up.
  3. Intervene: If you see a problem, get involved. Don’t leave an unsafe condition unresolved.
  4. Instruct: Share what we have learned about safety, including medical and other errors, so that we can build a true safety culture.

To develop a culture of safety, the steering committee is also doing “Lessons Learned” calls. “Every few months, we choose an incident that happened at one of our hospitals and see what we can learn from it,” says McGillan. “For example, if a serious medication error was made because two medications had similar names causing patient injury, the hospital’s leadership team conducts a root cause analysis to determine how the error occurred and what steps should be taken to prevent it from happening again. On a Lessons Learned call, a member of that team shares the information.  There is nothing as persuasive about safety opportunities as the experience of a peer hospital.”

According to McGillan, a culture of safety is not limited to patients; employee safety is equally important. “One steering committee initiative is a ‘Shoes for Crews’ campaign, where an outside vendor was engaged to provide non-skid shoes to employees at a discount,” she says. “Everyone in the hospital should be wearing non-slip footwear, even if they’re working in the office. You never know when you may be asked to help someone on the hospital unit, and it sets the right example that we all share in making the environment safe for our patients and each other.”

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Patricia McGillan is the Vice President of Patient Safety and Regulatory Compliance, Kindred Healthcare Hospital Division.