Guelph General Hospital Celebrates Its Successes in Improving Patient Safety and Quality Care

Provide the safest and highest quality care is one of Guelph General Hospital’s (GGH) four strategic priorities. At GGH’s 9th Annual Safety Fair held during Canadian Patient Safety Week, it was clear that all departments of the Hospital are onboard and taking this priority very seriously.
(l-r) Helen Martini, Jodie Brown-Bedford and Christine Hutchinson work hard each and every day to support patients and staff and help to promote our GGH culture of safety. At the Safety Fair, their display encouraged staff to write short notes about how each of them contributes to safety at the Hospital.
GGH’s Annual Safety Fair celebrates all the great work GGH does to keep its patients and staff safe. Dozens of exhibits filled the auditorium to showcase safety initiatives happening throughout the Hospital. The exhibits topics were wide ranging and included; hand hygiene, lifting patients safely, reducing medicine discrepancies and dosing errors, reducing staff and patient exposure to radiation during diagnostic procedures, safe use of the Hospital’s new safe rooms for patients experiencing a mental health crisis, and so many more.
To help identify areas where safety can be improved, GGH uses a formal Incident Reporting system. Helen Martini, GGH’s Quality & Patient Safety Specialist, is proud of the high number of incidence reports she receives. At first this may seem strange but she explained that GGH’s culture sees great value in learning from mistakes and actively encourages staff to come forward.
Incident reports even include a “Near Miss” category in which staff members report situations that were caught and corrected in time to avoid patient harm. These “near miss” situations provide valuable insights for correcting these potentially harmful situations before someone is actually harmed. The incidence report also encourages staff to suggest how to avoid harmful situations.
An example of a recent change made as a result of a staff member’s suggestion through the reporting system was related to a class of medications that has a high risk of being improperly dosed. The solution was to have a wider range of medication strengths available to eliminate calculation errors.
It was also evident at the Fair that GGH is concerned with safety and quality care beyond a patient’s stay in the Hospital. For example, the Intensive Care Unit has a new initiative designed to reduce acute mental confusion (delirium) in patients. It can be important predictor of poor outcomes and can continue to negatively impact patients long after leaving hospital.
There are many contributing factors to delirium including immobility, lack of sleep, pain, and malnutrition. GGH healthcare workers now use proven, standardized methods and tactics to reduce the risk of a patient developing delirium.  
The safety of patients and staff is a top priority at GGH and the recent Safety Fair was a great way to showcase all the wonderful work happening at the hospital.