Increasing Patient Care and Reducing Liability in Seven Simple Steps
When an unconscious patient arrives in the ED, every hospital agrees that timely next of kin notification is vital. Not only is it important to have a family member present to comfort the patient, but to make informed decisions for his care and provide the medical history that can make the difference between life and death. From a liability standpoint, as we know all too well, having a family member making medical decisions, often means that if complications do arise, the family will be much less likely to sue, than if they hadn't been in attendance.
Although most hospitals make notification calls quickly, between personnel shortages and overworked staffers, that call can often be delayed or forgotten.
That's exactly what happened to Elaine Sullivan, a very active seventy-one-year-old woman, who slipped and fell, while getting into the bathtub. When paramedics arrived, they realized that injuries to her mouth and head had made her unable to communicate, or as the hospital later discovered, to give informed consent for her own care.
Although stable for the first few days, she began to slip into critical condition. On the seventh day, Elaine died. But that tragedy was soon overshadowed by another. Despite having her daughter's phone number and contact information clearly indicated on the front of her chart, the hospital failed to notify her family that she'd been hospitalized until six and a half days after her admission, only hours before she died, unnecessarily and alone.
Elaine Sullivan was my grandmother.
In her case, placing that phone call right away, would have saved her life. Not only would my mother Janet and I have had the time to fly back to Chicago to be at her bedside, but we would have made sure she received the care she needed. We also would have been able to give the physicians treating her, the medical history they needed to prevent the complications and drug interactions, responsible for her death.
After researching our own case and others like it, we realized that failing to notify a patient's next of kin wasn't an isolated problem ? it's something that's been experienced by countless families nationwide. According to the CDC, nearly one million patients come into the ED every year unconscious or physically unable to give informed consent. And with the growing number of emergency room admissions and baby boomers turning into senior citizens, the problem is only going to escalate. We began meeting with medical and trauma professionals, to create an easy-to-implement solution to this growing problem, by bringing together the best practices of successful trauma teams from hospitals nationwide. The result is the Seven Steps to Successful Notification System.
The complete system is presented in The Seven Steps Information Kit, which is available for download, free of charge, on the NOKEP web site. It's filled with tools your staff can use on the patient care floor to identify and locate your unconscious patient's family or surrogate decision makers, identify John Does and improve patient care and satisfaction by locating patient's medical histories quickly and easily, while complying with HIPAA standards.
Even better, following the Seven Steps system provides the facility with a documentation of the steps taken to find the patient's next of kin, make the notification, and the staff members responsible for making it. This releases you from subsequent liability, while providing proof that your facility has met its statutory responsibility.
Here is a quick look at the Seven Steps.
Step 1: Patient status confirmed
The moment that your staff realizes that an ED patient is unconscious or physically unable to give informed consent, and that there is no family member or surrogate decision maker in attendance, a nurse or physician is tasked with following the notification process through to completion. The staff member indicates the patient's status on his chart along with the time, date and the staffer's initials.
Step 2: Examine the patient's personal effects for emergency contact numbers
If the patient doesn't have emergency contact information in his or her wallet, the staff member looks for it in the patient's personal effects. The System has a comprehensive checklist of places to locate this information, from the usual to the downright creative.
Step 3: Retrieve patient's home number
If the patient doesn't have emergency contact information, the staff member then looks for the patient's home number, going to step five if they find it and four if they do not.
Step 4: Seek other sources for contact information
Next, the staff member looks for the patient's emergency contact information or home phone number on records from previous admissions at the facility, or by calling his personal physician's office, or other locations on the checklist. If the staff member finds the information, he proceeds to step five ? if not, step seven.
Step 5: Oversee or make the notification call
When a contact has been identified, the staffer places a call to make the notification. They note on the chart when the call was placed, whom they contacted, the phone number and the result.
Step 6: Need to follow up? Recall main contact or second number
If a message had to be left for the contact, or the contact doesn't come into the hospital within two hours, the staff member places one more call, to the first or a secondary contact. If no one is reached, the staff member proceeds to step seven.
Step 7: Shift to social service or police
When no contact name or number can be located, or if the staff member doing the notification, is unable to speak directly to the contact, they give the information to the social service department or to the local police department, as per your facilities' policy, for follow up.
Along with the Information Kit, the non-profit Next of Kin Education Project has created patient chart pages and notification worksheets using the Seven Steps, that you can purchase and customize to use as part of your own charting system. You'll find them on the NOKEP web site along with reminder products like mouse pads, posters and coffee mugs, to keep the Seven Steps at your staff's fingertips.
Just as doctors, nurses, and staffers from every department make up a team to improve the health of the patients in their care, family and friends can play an important part in contributing to the patient's well being. As a medical professional, you are a diagnostician, a caregiver and a healer. But most of all, you are the patient's advocate. And so is his family. This Kit contains tools that will help you and his family work together to increase his care, trust and take patient satisfaction to a whole new level.
Laura Greenwald, CEO/The Next of Kin Education Project email@example.com
The Seven Steps Information Kit can be downloaded free of charge at http://clik.to/7steps
and the Reminder Products can be purchased at our NOKEP store http://www.cafeshops.com/7steps
Toenail Fungus: Treatment and Prevention
A thick, yellowish nail with splotchy white areas is a classic presentation for a fungal toenail. In the early stages the toenail is only slightly discolored, or slightly thickened. In the late stages the nail can become very thick and has a tendency to "grow up" more than in grows out. The nail will be very discolored, typically dark yellow-brown and will start to change shape and crumble. In some cases the nail becomes very loose and many will lose the nail, only for it to regrow with the fungus.
Be Informed About The Medications You Take
The recent withdrawal of the prescription drugs Vioxx and Bextra have arthritis patients concerned about their health, lawyers busy with lawsuits, and Congress poring over thousands of pages of documents obtained from the manufacturer. The drugs, part of a family of medications known as COX-2 inhibitors, have recently been shown to increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes among users who take the drugs for long periods of time. These findings have more and more people starting to pay more attention to the drugs that are prescribed for them.
Coumadin Users Can Avoid Unnecessary Complications By Wearing Identification
The police arrive at the accident scene promptly. A driver has run his automobile into a guardrail while exiting a highway. The driver does not seem to be injured but is somewhat incoherent and is slipping in and out of consciousness. Did he strike his head? Is he inebriated? Is he on drugs? A quick review of the driver's attire reveals a medical alert bracelet that identifies him as a Coumadin user. This is crucial information for those responding to the incident.
Aleve, Vioxx, Celebrex, and Bextra: What You Need To Know About Arthritis Pain Medications
Recent controversy about the safety of pain medications for arthritis has left patients and health care professionals alike confused about which medications are safe to use. In fact, a recent survey by the Boston-based Rippe Lifestyle Institute indicated that many people with arthritis are suffering unnecessarily because they have stopped or reduced their use of pain relievers due to confusion about which drugs are considered safe.
Family Healthcare: The Dangers Of A Heart Attack & How To Avoid It
A heart attack happens when the blood supply to part of the heart muscle itself (the myocardium) is severely reduced or even stopped entirely.
Which Drug Addiction Treatment is the Best?
The answer is simple: there is no such thing as the best drug addiction treatment. Depending on the kind of the addiction, your age and social situation different treatments may be chosen for your benefit.
10 Reasons To Buy Drugs From An Online Canadian Pharmacy
1. Online Canadian pharmacies offer overall best prices on Canadian drugs, as well as on international drugs. This is due to the fact that there are many online Canadian pharmacies and they lower their prices to increase the sales number.
Stopping Hospital Infections
Each year hospitals end up killing twice as many people than automobiles, some 90,000 deaths in the United States. It is not from malpractice, it is due to infections. Hospital infections affect over 2 million patients every year. Scientists are working to prevent these infections one of the newest innovations is silver nano-particles. Microscopic anti-microbial coated nano-particles would be used to keep the infections at bay. Tools used in surgery would be coated with these particles, along with perhaps rubber gloves. One of the companies working on this scheme is AcryMed, which makes surgical devices in Portland, Oregon.
Polysomnography: One Tool in Helping in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Fibromyalgia
Stop! and imagine for one moment that your body is being savagely and brutally attacked by chronic pain. This pain is so intense that you become less active. As you become less active you start to develop muscles weakness. Just trying to do normal daily activities such as, working, housekeeping, cooking, playing with the kids, shopping, walking the dog and sleeping has become an extreme ordeal. All is not peaceful in the Land of Nod. In fact, you as a fibromyalgia (FM) sufferer are downright restless.
Medical Error Crisis
The unfortunate truth about medical errors is that they plague the poor and uninsured, reflecting the great medical inequality in our country. For those who do not consider medical errors to be a problem, consider this: medical errors kill between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans every year. This reflects the fact that medical errors kill more people per year than breast cancer, AIDS, or motor vehicle accidents. Doctors complain of inflated medical malpractice insurace costs, but medication-related errors for hospitalized patients cost around $2 billion annually.
10 Tips for Responsible Medication Use
All medications, which include prescriptions, over-the-counter preparations, vitamin and mineral supplements, and herbal preparations, are potentially dangerous. Following some simple rules will not only reduce your chance of having a problem, but should reduce your cost as well.
Vioxx Side Effects : Are You Suffering?
Have you ever taken the drug Vioxx or celebrex? In September 2004 the drug manufacturer Merck decided to recall the product after long term data suggested a serious potential side effect.
Over The Counter Drugs: How To Safely Choose The Right Medication
What Medication Can Cure Me?
Orthotics: Prefab or Custom-Made?
If you take a simple stroll down the foot product isle at your local drug store you will find an array of foot products and inserts. You will find inserts for cushion, for comfort, for support and for control. Many questions may cross your mind. What are the differences? Is the $15 insert better than the $7 insert? Are these orthotics? Will they help my foot pain? You may take the time to study the package details closely, but in most instances it doesn't really matter which pair you grab. Most of the inserts at the local drug store are essentially the same.
22 Inside Tips on How You Can Make Your Arthritis Medicines Work Twice as Effectively in Half the..
This report will give you 22 important tips to make sure that you're getting the very best out of your arthritis treatment program.
Zyprexa is an antipsychotic medication that works by changing the actions of chemicals in the brain. Zyprexa is used to treat the symptoms of psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Zyprexa may also be used for other purposes.
A Compelling Look at Pain Relief
If your back aches when you're loading groceries in the car or your hands cramp up with arthritis when you sit down at the computer, you're not alone. Although the nature, cause, and complaints vary, over one-half of Americans experience chronic or recurrent pain, a recent survey conducted by the Stanford University Medical Center found.
Medical Malpractice Suits: Death By Medicine
A recent report has found that Americans are more frightened of dying at the hands of their doctor than they are of a plane crash. The overwhelming majority of those who participated in the survey said that information about malpractice suits and medical errors would be the single most deciding factor in trusting a healthcare provider. These people must have heard that medical errors cause more deaths in the United States every year than car accidents, AIDS, or breast cancer.
How to Remove the Psychological Addiction to Smoking - and Start to ENJOY Giving Up Smoking!
Safely Mimicking the Effects of Accutane Without the Side-effects or Costs
Since 1982 Accutane has been a reliable, if not controversial, drug for treating severe acne. Now with FDA representative David J. Graham's statement that Accutane should be taken off the market, and pharmaceutical manufacturer La Roche's defense of Accutane's safety in a Florida courtroom, access to Accutane faces mounting restrictions.
|home | site map|