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Healthcare worker safety: A priority for patient safety

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Patient Safety Day 2020 focuses on healthcare worker and patient safety and, in a time of a pandemic, we know that the safety of all healthcare workers, hospital employees, patients and visitors is absolutely critical.

Patient safety is something that every hospital group globally and nationally takes seriously. It is a key priority to ensure the protection of patients from clinical errors, injuries, accidents, and infections. In fact, at Life Healthcare we report on quality and safety measures on our website to help you make the best possible decisions by providing you with clear, transparent insights. In addition to our ongoing commitment to patient safety, our COVID-19 safety measures are in place so that the risk of infection is reduced for both healthcare workers and patients.

The World Patient Safety Day theme for 2020 is Healthcare worker safety: A priority for patient safety and this remains a priority for Life Healthcare. Our safety measures are in place for the protection of all who enter our hospitals so that you can have peace of mind about putting your health first.

7 ways we’re driving responsible healthcare worker and patient safety

1. Infection Prevention Specialists (IPS)

Every one of our facilities has an experienced IPS. These are clinically trained and educated individuals, all holding nursing qualifications and experience and are responsible to effectively manage and implement hospital infection prevention and control strategies. They focus on monitoring and reporting to minimise infection risk, aligned to the Life Healthcare national infection prevention and control strategy. They ensure excellence in infection prevention practices and build competence in infection prevention management within the facilities. They manage internal and external outbreaks of all infections to minimise risk to healthcare workers, patients and visitors. They have played a critical role in implementing COVID-19 specific infection prevention strategies as well as collaborating with Doctor COVID Committee, hospital management committees and clinical committees during the COVID-19 pandemic. Safe healthcare workers, safe patients

2. COVID-19 Healthcare worker exposure policy

The risk of healthcare workers infection of COVID-19 is monitored and managed closely and our healthcare workers are trained to practice infection prevention and control measures to protect and limit the spread of infection. The processes and procedures of isolation and quarantine measures are outlined in our policies and these include what to do when an employee develops flu-like symptoms, behaviours at work and return to work measures. Safe healthcare workers, safe patients

3. Keeping Life on Track

Our screening processes for every single employee and healthcare worker have been underpinned by an intensive internal programme called Keeping Life on Track. This includes a symptom tracker tool that all healthcare workers and employees are required to log on to on a daily basis with ongoing reminders to use the tracker tool being disseminated regularly. Hospital management receive reports and are able to monitor the health and wellbeing of their employees, on a daily basis. Individual risk assessments are conducted on any exposed employee to guide the prevention of transmission. Safe healthcare workers, safe patients

4. Doctor COVID Committees

All Life Healthcare hospitals have a Doctor COVID Committee that works closely with hospital management in the daily and ongoing clinical decisions affecting patients, staff and doctors to ensure that the situation is managed optimally. There are daily operational briefings and live data to keep all the management teams appraised of facility status. Life Healthcare hospitals across the country are collaborating to ensure best practice and shared learnings to ensure the safety of both Healthcare workers and patients. Safe healthcare workers, safe patients

5. Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

Relevant PPEs are provided to all healthcare workers and employees in line with clinical standards. Employees are trained on the appropriate use of PPE. What’s important to know is that there are different types of PPE needed for different situations and hospital environments. Our healthcare workers are familiar with our guiding principles and use of all PPEs and regular audits are done to ensure the proper use of PPEs. Universal masking is standard practice for all healthcare workers, employees, outsourced services and persons entering or admitted to our hospitals. Safe healthcare workers, safe patients

6. Environmental cleaning and safety practices

Our environmental cleaning according to infection prevention standards is part of our standard infection prevention and control practices. The pandemic has meant that even more rigorous attention to detail is given to high-touch surfaces which need to be regularly disinfected.  We continue to align to the NICD guidelines to deep clean and fog rooms or wards after COVID-19 patients are discharged. Safe healthcare workers, safe patients

7. Continuous awareness and education

Our internal communications and infection prevention and control policies and practices go a long way to reinforce safety measures and are helping to drive a culture of responsible healthcare worker safety so that your safety is taken care of. Our high visibility education and awareness materials are placed in strategic areas that both healthcare workers and patients make use of. Safe healthcare workers, safe patients