Vital Sounds 2024, Quarter 1

Vital Sounds 2024, Quarter 1

Safety Rounds Change the Game When Everyone Participates

February 29, 2024


Safety Rounds Change the Game When Everyone Participates

February 29, 2024

By Connie Christian, MBA, CPHRM
Facility Risk Management and Patient Safety Advisor

man with hazard icon representing safety rounds

Imagine a world where every visit to the clinic, hospital, or medical center is safer than the last. This isn’t just wishful thinking–it’s entirely possible by implementing rounds of regular safety checks. These proactive checks can significantly reduce the chance of facing a claim or lawsuit, safeguarding not just the patients but the workplace itself. The magic happens when everyone, from the top surgeons to the front desk staff, is equipped and encouraged to spot and address safety concerns on the spot. In this article, we’ll dive into tips everyone on the healthcare team can use to ensure they’re ready to act, not just observe.

Ideas to Include When Building a Safety Rounds Strategy

Outside the Facility

1. Note possible safety concerns in parking areas, entrances, and walkways.

Some ideas to try out and questions to ask yourself:

  • Alter your path when arriving at your healthcare center to check for obstacles that might block the line of sight at intersections or impede pedestrians from walking safely along sidewalks.
  • Occasionally, park your vehicle in the patient and visitor lots. Evaluate the parking area for potential impediments to access and dangers caused by uneven driving or walking surfaces and curbs.
  • Move through the employee parking areas, entrances, and external break areas to observe the traffic flow and ensure hazards are removed or repaired and lighting is adequate.

Inside the Facility

2. Look out for potential dangers in patient and visitor waiting rooms.

Move around and through the space as your patients and visitors would. Observe what they might encounter, see, and hear in this space. Some items to note:

  • Is the entrance free from slip, trip, and fall hazards?
  • Is the waiting area clean and tidy without chipped or peeling wall surfaces?
  • Are light fixtures free of dead bugs, dust, and debris?
  • Does any furniture need repair or replacement, including stained, cracked, or ripped upholstery on seating that could create an infection control issue?

3. Consider infection control and fire safety when hanging signage in waiting areas.

When hanging signage, keep the following in mind:

  • Can the signs be disinfected?
  • Are the primary languages used in your community represented in the signage?
  • Is the information presented on the signage concise and free from an overabundance of information?
  • Do you have a patient, family, or visitor code of conduct posted to encourage appropriate behaviors?

4. Maintain HIPAA privacy at check-in.

When patients or visitors walk up to check in, ask yourself:

  • Can protected or private information be seen or overheard?
  • Is your staff’s HIPAA and cybersecurity training up to date?

5. Maintain supplies and medications.

Spring cleaning isn’t just for windows. Evaluate your supply and medication closets and other storage areas like cabinets or under sinks, and ask yourself the following:

  • Is the employee stock of over-the-counter medications expired? What about the first-aid kits?
  • Do medical supplies need to be updated?
  • Are chemicals and cleaners still within their use date, appropriately labeled, and locked safely away?

Risk Assessment Resources

For more information on facility and medical practice risk assessments, please visit the KAMMCO Risk Management Resources and Tools page.