Saturday, March 09, 2013

Naval Hospital Oak Harbor Uses 'Room of Horrors' to Promote Safety

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joan E. Jennings, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Whidbey Island
OAK HARBOR, Wash. (NNS) -- Naval Hospital Oak Harbor (NHOH) promoted Patient Safety Awareness Week (PSAW) at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, March 3-9.

According to the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) website,, Patient Safety Awareness Week is an annual education and awareness campaign for health care safety led by NPSF. Annually, health care organizations take part in the event by displaying the NPSF campaign logo and promotional materials within their organizations, which creates awareness in the community.

"This annual event emphasizes our constant need to make patient safety our number one priority," said Matthew Bowles, NHOH's patient safety specialist.

This year's theme for NPSF is Patient Safety 7/365: 7 days of recognition, 365 days of commitment of safe care, according to the website. Their focus for 2013 is to recognize the advancements that have been made in patient safety as well as acknowledging the challenges that still exist, and to commit to working on them.

"This year we will be focusing on medication safety, patient falls prevention, and preventing infections," Bowles said.

Bowles said he helped create 'Room of Horrors' for the staff. It's a room for patient care that is filled with violations or mistakes that could harm a patient or put their privacy at risk. All staff members were invited to observe the room to find all the mistakes.

"The staff will have a better understanding of the importance of maintaining situational awareness when they are caring for patients," Bowles said. "It also reminds the staff that little mistakes can really add up to a nightmarish scenario."

According to Chantel L. Miller, NHOH's licensed practical nurse, the training has pinpointed several safety measures for patients that may get overlooked.

"Little things such as bed rails being up and your call light being within reach can make a huge impact on the patient," Miller said. "It's something I do all the time, and this training has made us stop and pay extra attention."

Bowles said NHOH is proud of their safety record, and they are continuously working to do even better.

"We have a number of programs in place to ensure patient safety, and our staff works to improve patient safety every day," Bowles said.

NHOH Commanding Officer Capt. Edward Simmer said patient safety is a 7/365 effort and it is the center of what NHOH does every day.

"Patient Safety Week gives us the opportunity to educate our community about how they can help us improve safety, and to recognize the many great initiatives by our staff to ensure we keep every patient safe, every time," Simmer said.

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