What is 'Patient Safety'?

Put simply, patient safety is keeping a patient, in any setting, protected from unnecessary and preventable complications or harm. 

Doctors, nurses, surgeons, and all healthcare professionals have been trained to treat or cure illness or disease.  In most cases, they provide miraculous, highly advanced care. Most of us have had at least one experience in which we felt great appreciation and gratitude for the many compassionate, caring and highly-skilled people who took care of us. From having babies to end-of-life care, the medical professionals in our lives are there for us during important and at times, life-changing experiences.  

But hospitals and other healthcare facilites have grown into very complex systems. Accessing healthcare for many patients is a challenge and risky to navigate alone. Too often, patients experience preventable complications or even extended or long term harm from the care they receive. 

Hospitals and medical professionals are working hard from inside the system to improve patient safety and reduce these complications.  But, that’s not enough. We need informed and engaged patients, families, and caregivers too. 

We need patients who are aware, speak up, and ask questions. Patients who insist on knowing the risks as well as the benefits of surgery, medications, medical devices, tests or a procedure. Patients who consistently ask questions like:

  • "Are there safer alternatives for me to try first?" 
  • "Will this improve my quality of life?"
  • "Could this decrease my quality of life?"
  • "Could it cause me harm?" 
  • "Are there hospitals that specialize in this or do a high volume?"
  • "What if I do nothing?"

As you navigate your way around this site, we hope you will find the information you need to help you become a more prepared, informed and engaged patient.

“Our safety as patients is a form of respect
for our health and well being that we should expect 
from our medical providers and hospitals.

It is knowing that our very lives depend on them
to do everything in their power to keep us safe.

It includes telling us when we don’t need
a medication, procedure, surgery, or test.

It includes providing us with known and/or safer alternatives. 

Like referring us to specialists, surgeons, 
'centers of excellence', or hospitals 
known to have better outcomes
with our condition or surgical procedure. 

It is an expectation we have of them 
to keep our health, safety and qualty of life 
as their top priority, 
in whatever they tell us, and in the care they provide."  

(Lori Nerbonne, Co-Founder)

                                                                                                                  

 Read Up! 

Top Patient Safety Issues in 2020 from Healthcare Insiders 

'A Landmark Patient Safety Action Plan, and Family Caregiving as a Key Piece' by Susan Reihhard, AARP Senior VP, October 13,2020 

Safer Together: A National Action Plan to Advance Patient Safety
Published in September, 2020 by The Institue for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in collaboraton with 27 organizations who signed on.  You have to register with your name and email to download the full report. One of the four pillars of this report is patient-family engagement

 

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