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2010 National Patient Safety Goals

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2010 National Patient Safety Goals

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MRSA skin infection

MRSA skin infection

The Joint Commission has released the 2010 National Patient Safety Goals. The Joint Commission sets standards for, evaluates, and accredits more than 16,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the United States. These include hospitals and home health agencies as well as ambulatory care services, behavioral health programs, clinical laboratories, and long term care organizations. In addition, The Joint Commission provides certification of disease-specific care programs, primary stroke centers, and health care staffing services.

The 2010 effort has streamlined the goals, refined language, and emphasized the importance of the healthcare-associated infections goal. This goal was first released in 2009 and is to be fully implemented in 2010. There has been increased attention paid to the development of healthcare-associated infections due to multi-antibiotic resistant organisms. Some states collect information from hospitals and report on the incidence of such infections. Some plaintiff attorneys have filed suits related to hospital-acquired infections, under these theories of liability:

  1. Transmission of infection to the patient
  2. Delay in diagnosis of infection
  3. Improper treatment of infection

The 2010 Goal applies to methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), clostridium difficile (c-diff), Vancomycin-resistant enterococci, multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacteria, among others organisms. The goal focuses on:

  1. Conduction of periodic risk assessments for multidrug-resistant organism acquisition and transmission
  2. Provision of education for staff at the time of hire and annually thereafter
  3. Education of patients and families who are infected or colonized with a multidrug –resistant organism about healthcare-associated infection strategies
  4. Implementation of a surveillance program for multidrug-resistant organisms based on the risk assessment
  5. Measurement and monitoring of prevention processes
  6. Provision of multidrug-resistant organism process and outcome data to key stakeholders, including leaders, licensed independent practitioners, nursing staff and other clinicians
  7. Implementation of policies and practices aimed at reducing the risk of transmitting multidrug-resistant organisms
  8. When indicated by the risk assessment, implementation of a laboratory-based alert system that identifies new patients with multidrug-resistant organisms
  9. When indicated by the risk assessment, implementation of an alert system that identifies readmitted or transferred patients who are known to be positive for multidrug-resistant organisms

What can you do to protect yourself and your loved ones in a healthcare environment? The single biggest action you can take is to insist that healthcare providers wash their hands before contact with the patient. This is not the time to be shy. Speak up. This is an issue foremost in my mind this week as my husband prepares to enter the hospital for a triple bypass. I’ll be washing my hands before touching him and trusting that the healthcare providers will do the same.

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