The VA Sunshine Healthcare Network (VISN 8) is the nation’s largest system of hospitals and clinics serving a population of more than 1.6 million Veterans in a vast 61,101 square mile area spread across 79 counties in Florida, South Georgia, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.
VISN 8’s seven healthcare systems include eight Joint Commission-accredited VA medical centres and more than 50 outpatient clinics. About 23,800 full-time VISN employees work at these facilities, providing a full range of high quality, cost-effective medical, psychiatric and extended care services in an inpatient, outpatient, nursing home, and home care settings. In 2011, over 534,000 Veterans received their healthcare at VISN 8 facilities—more patients than any other VA network in the country.
The mission of our centre is to support clinicians in providing safe patient care by designing and testing safety defences related to the patient, provider, technology, and organization. Specifically, our PSCI goals are to: 1. prevent injurious falls (specifically focusing on the most serious injuries: hip fractures and intracranial hemorhages) and minimize adverse events associated with hazardous wandering; 2. promote the safe use of technology associated with injurious falls and hazardous wandering; and 3. promote a culture of safety to support clinicians in providing safe patient mobility.
The Tampa Patient Safety Centre of Inquiry developed a SPH Program as a part of an initiative that led to: markedly-increased satisfaction among patients and staff; decreased number and severity of injuries among caregivers; and improved patient quality of care. Core elements included: a risk assessment identifying unit patient handling equipment needs; introduction of appropriate equipment, training and education; utilization of unit peer leaders (UPL) (formerly Back Injury Resource Nurses) and site coordinators (currently facility champions or coordinators); implementation of a maintenance program; and once those were all in place, the development of a “minimal lift policy.”