Hospital Volunteers and Patient Safety Steven Saxe Department of Health June 17, 2010
Patient safety and the Department of Health • Mission: We protect and improve • the health of people in Washington • State. • What do we mean by patient • safety? We want patients to be confident: • Their health professionals are competent and ethical. • Their health facilities follow standards for safe, high quality operation. • They will have access to emergency treatment anywhere in Washington state. 8
Our Role in Patient Safety - Overview The Washington Department of Health is responsible for: • Licensing more than 350,000 • people in 79 different health • professions. • Inspecting and licensing more than • 7,000 health-related facilities. This includes the hospitals where you work and many of your co-workers. We license doctors, nurses, physician assistants, radiologists, respiratory therapists and most of the staff in a hospital.
Who defines our job? • The Public • The Legislature • The Governor
Professional associations Elected politics Court decisions Media exposure Public expectations What are those external pressures?
Politics • Health Care is a big • issue for voters. • Individual issues can be • partisan or cross party lines. • Politics magnifies all the • other pressures.
Before the patient gets to you • Our job starts even before the • patient gets to you. We have the • lead for: • Preventing injuries before they • happen. • Helping recruit medical providers • to rural areas. • The state’s emergency trauma • system. • Licensing emergency transport. • services and emergency medical • personnel. • As you can see from the chart, our work does make a difference!
Other efforts to protect patients • In addition to licensing, our patient safety • work involves: • Determine the need for high cost / complex • Facilities or services. • Reviewing plans before facilities are built to • make sure they are safe. • Disciplining incompetent or unethical health care providers. • Helping health care providers with substance abuse problems. • Inspecting facilities and investigating complaints. • Helping facilities and licensees report serious medical errors and learn to avoid them.
Tips for hospital volunteer coordinators • Tip: Treat volunteers like • they are paid employees • and the gift shop like any • Other part of the hospital.
Tips for hospital volunteer coordinators • Tip:Make volunteers the eyes and ears of your hospital • They can help you spot problems early (i.e. bed sores) • They can help your hospital avoid issues during inspections or complaints from patients
Tips for hospital volunteer coordinators • Tip:If they are performing any function that requires a license…they need a license. • Providing massage to a patient? • Working in departments like the pharmacy?