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MMH Focused on Patient Safety Culture Hospital Wide

March 21, 2017

Sherry Malark, RN, uses the Beside Medication Verification (BMV) system to confirm when a patient is scheduled for their next round of prescriptions.

Patient Safety is a #1 priority

Dedicated to providing the best care for our patients Massena Memorial Hospital continues to focus on patient safety culture throughout all hospital departments. Procedures, equipment and policies are reviewed by hospital leadership and staff daily to ensure every staff member keeps patient safety at the uppermost importance in their daily activities. 
National Patient Safety Week is recognized from March 12 – 18, but every day MMH staff adheres to stringent safety standards to assure our patients’ safety. Through new policies, equipment and team work. MMH is making its commitment to patient safety a reality. MMH experienced a 17 percent decrease in patient falls from 2015 to 2016 as a result of these measures.
MMH Chief Nursing Officer Ralene North, RN, BSN explained there are many steps occurring several times a day at MMH to ensure patient safety is being properly addressed. “Everything we do is extremely complex. It may seem simple, but there are many steps that have to go right every single time. We have concentrated on building systems and processes that harness the talents of our hospital team to focus on patient safety,” she said. 
MMH treats thousands of patients annually. MMH Medical/Surgical/Pediatric and ICU Nursing Director Lisa Susice, MSN, RN, imparts her personal healthcare mantra to her staff to focus on each patient as a human being. “We are treating a person, not a disease, at the end of all we do is an individual patient whose safety is our priority” Susice said. 
For the growing number of patients with special needs, such as dementia and limited mobility, MMH coordinates sitters serve as a companion and emotional support system for that patient. A rainbow sign posted outside a patient’s room alerts staff to keep a closer watch on the patient as that person may be prone to falling. 
Advocating on behalf of patients is another main component of ensuring patient safety. MMH Nursing staff stay in constant communication with the physicians,  families and others involved in the patient’s care to always work to assist the patient with any need, while focusing on optimizing patient health. “The nurses here have big hearts and patient safety is an integral piece, which maintains the constant beat of the heart,” Susice said. 
Keeping its focus on providing ground breaking technology in the treatment of patients, MMH is the first hospital in New York State to incorporate the Masimo Root Vital Signs Monitoring system with the capability to interface directly with the electronic medical record. The Masimo Patient SafetyNet System is a remote monitoring and clinician notification system, which displays near real time vital monitoring information from any connected Masimo device to a central station. These stations are strategically placed throughout the hospital allow for optimal monitoring, sending alarms and alerts, as necessary, from the bedside devices to nurses wearing the assigned pager. Nurses are alerted to any distresses the patient might be experiencing. Since Masimo was integrated into patient care in January, medical staff have been alerted to previously undiagnosed sleep apnea and low heart rate conditions, just to name a few.
Medication can sometimes look very similar to the next medication, so the hospital’s Bedside Medication Verification System is an added safeguard to ensure each patient receives the correct medication.  Nurses scan each the medication package and the patient’s identification bracelet to make sure the right patient is receiving the correct medicine at the appropriate time. Over the next several months, MMH will implement additional procedures to improve medication safety by ensuring a more active role of the Pharmacy team in the review and administration of medications 24/7.
Hospital leadership members meet every weekday for a “Safety Huddle” to discuss key safety measures being properly followed to ensure all patients, visitors and staff are safe.  This has decreased our patient injury rate, Performance Improvement and Risk Management Director Judy Tubolino, RN, MSCHA pointed out. 
A committee comprised of doctors, nurses and technicians are developing tools to streamline a more efficient communication between hospital departments, the handoff process when patients moved from one unit of the hospital to another or are transferred to another facility. This ensures every caregiver has the most up to date essential information, clearly communicated for the care of the patient, which is the goal of the team driven process. At Massena Memorial Hospital Everyday We are Making a Difference.