Patient Safety

A New Take on Managing Pain

In this guest post, Dr. Aliza Weinrib advocates for a new take on managing pain.

By Dr. Aliza Weinrib Clinical Psychologist, University Health Network

We have all been there. That moment when your doctor asks you, “So… how has your pain been since I’ve seen you last?”

At that moment, you turn to your memory to provide you with a summary of all the ups and downs that you have been through. Of course, you remember your pain! Your pain is very hard to forget or ignore!

Read More

Patient Safety

5 Key Recommendations for Safe Procedural Sedation Position Statement on Patient Monitoring During Procedural Sedation

The Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety is pleased to release the Position Statement on Procedural Sedation.

The number of noninvasive and minimally invasive procedures performed outside of the operating room has grown exponentially over the last several decades. Depending on the patient and the medical procedure, many of these are performed under sedation to manage the patient’s pain and/or anxiety without inducing general anesthesia.

Read More

Patient Safety

5 Safety Tips for Senior Patient Health

It’s important to take precautions to ensure a safe and healthy life. With age comes a natural decline in health. In this guest post, Holly Kramer discusses 5 safety tips for senior patient health.

By Holly Kramer

If you or your loved one is a senior, it’s important to take precautions to ensure a safe and healthy life. With age comes a natural decline in health, but by taking safety precautions, you can prevent some of the injuries and illnesses that cause complications in old age. If you’re in 55+ senior living, it’s time to take responsibility for your health and safety. Here are some helpful safety tips that keeps seniors safer and living a longer life.

#1 – Wear an emergency button

As you get older, the risk of experiencing a fall becomes much more threatening, and so having an emergency button can prevent you from being stranded alone in the event you do have an accident. Emergency buttons are small buttons, often attached to a bracelet or an easily accessible item of clothing, that you can press to contact an emergency responder as well as your family in the event you need help. Some emergency buttons even use biomedical sensors to detect when there is something wrong with the wearer’s breathing or heartbeat and to contact help if necessary. An emergency button is a great investment for older adults, particularly those living on their own.

#2 – Leave lights on throughout the house

It’s very important that seniors are able to see as they are navigating their home, because low lighting can increase the chances of an injury. Vision also tends to decline in old age, making it harder to see. To prevent problems, install night lights throughout your hallways, particularly in tight corners or areas far away from windows. When you’re awake at night or on cloudy days, keep all your lights on to increase visibility.

#3 – Cover slippery floors with grip mats

A slippery floor like tile or hardwood will make you much more likely to fall, particularly if you are wearing socks or spill something on the floor. To reduce your chances of falling, be sure all slippery surfaces in your home are covered with grip mats. These are mats that are safe to walk on and use grips to stay in place. You can also place these mats under rugs and carpets for a more aesthetically pleasing look.

#4 – Keep your space clean

You are much more likely to experience an accident if your space is full of clutter and grime, but luckily, this can be prevented with regular cleaning. Be sure to wipe down your floors to prevent slips, particularly right after you’ve spilled something. You should also be cautious of keeping your floors and surfaces clear of clutter, and keeping sharp objects stored safely away in a drawer when they aren’t in use. If you struggle to keep your space organized, investing in a dresser or bookshelves can provide extra storage space so you’ll have an easy place to put things when they aren’t in use.

#5 – Always keep your medications organized

As you get older, you’ll likely have to take more medications to manage physical and mental health conditions. It is very important that you take the medications as specified to prevent any complications. Having a good pill organizer will make it much easier to keep track of what you have and haven’t taken to prevent either missing a dose or taking two in a day. You should also set up a reminder system to ensure that you are taking your pills at the right time.  

It’s very important that seniors take steps to ensure their safety as they get older. If you have a senior in your life or are a senior yourself, assessing your home and daily routine for safety will help you live more comfortably. It also may help to talk to your doctor about any specific risks you have related to your personal health, and ask any other senior living help questions you have.

Holly loves to write on issues related to seniors, aging and retirement. Holly is a frequent contributor on many blogs and websites that help provide comprehensive resources on senior living options.

Patient Safety

Addiction Explained An Obsession That Could Cost You Your Life

In this submission by Erick Blake, his infographic “Addiction Explained” presents how addiction is an obsession that could cost you your life.

Read More

Patient Safety

Atrial Fibrillation Resources from the North American Thrombosis Forum

In this guest article about atrial fibrillation resources from the North American Thrombosis Forum (NATF), Molly Gately, who is the Assistant Director of Content Development for the NATF, provides very useful links to materials that both clinicians and patients will find useful in better understanding atrial fibrillation.

By Molly Gately (Assistant Director of Content Development, North American Thrombosis Forum)

Atrial fibrillation is a life-altering condition that affects at least 2.3 million adults in the United States. It greatly increases a patient’s risk for developing ischemic stroke, and it is imperative that these patients get the medical therapy they require. The North American Thrombosis Forum has designed resources for both healthcare providers and patients to help them understand the risks, treatments, and management of atrial fibrillation.

Read More

Patient Safety, Practices & Tips

Five Steps to Managing Concussions in Youth Sports

In this guest article, Dr. Steve Horwitz provides 5 steps that should be taken to manage concussions in youth sports.

By Dr. Steve Horwitz

Concussions and CTE. These have been the two buzz words in the sports headlines for the last few years. We read and see how concussions are managed in professional sports (recent World Cup) and the recent examples of this management are disconcerting. The NFL and NHL lawsuits continue and the more we learn, the uglier it gets. What is the influence of professional sports on the decisions made by youth athletes, parents, coaches, and administrators?

Read More

Patient Safety

Why Healthcare Providers and PSOs Need to Work Together to Improve Patient Safety and Data Breaches

In this guest article, Meghann Chilcott discusses why healthcare providers need to work with PSOs in order to improve patient safety and reduce data breaches

By Meghann Chilcott (Information Technology and Services)

It’s only summer, and it’s already been an awful year for data security in the American healthcare sector. In April, a ransomware attack could have compromised the data of 85,000 patients at three orthopedic hospitals in California. Then, in June, a healthcare billing claims vendor experienced a cyber attack that may have breached the records of 270,000 patients. These incidents are just the tip of the iceberg. Between 2009 and 2017, 2,181 healthcare data breaches impacted more than 50 percent of the population of the United States.

Read More

Patient Safety

How to Select the Best Patient Monitoring Systems

We are often asked how to select the best patient monitoring systems.

To help with the decision making process, we offer two resources:

  • In a clinical education podcast, “Selecting Patient Monitoring Systems,” Melissa Powell (Chief Operating Officer, The Allure Group); Priyanka Shah (Project Engineer, ECRI Institute); and Charlie Whelan (Director of Consulting, Transformational Health, Frost & Sullivan) provide their guidance on how to select the best patient monitoring systems to meet your clinical needs.
  • The Guide to Patient Monitoring features these manufacturers’ answers about their patient monitoring systems:
    • Becton Dickinson
    • EarlySense
    • GE Healthcare
    • Masimo
    • Medtronic – we recently added their answers, so please check it out and tell us what you think!
    • Philips
    • Respiratory Motion
    • Sotera Wireless

To view manufacturer answers, please click here.

If there is a question you’d like answered or a manufacturer that has not been included, please let us know!


Opioid Safety, Patient Safety

8 Signs You May Have an Opioid Addiction

Freelance writer and in recovery himself, Peter Lang discusses 8 signs that you may have an opioid addiction. To learn more and get help, please visit The Recovery Village.

Opiate addiction is a crisis in America. The proportion of the abusers of pain medication is not just alarming; it has reached critical levels. According to research, about one in every four opioid prescriptions ends up in the hands of abusers. About 35,000 people die every year from this menace. Further studies show that at least 12.5 million people abused opioids in 2015 alone. These pain-relieving medications include methadone, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, fentanyl, and morphine. Some are legal, while others are not.

Read More

Must Reads, Patient Safety

Ideas to Improve Patient Safety Articles PPAHS have been reading the week of July 9, 2018

Articles the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS) have been reading the week of July 16, 2018 suggest ideas to improve patient safety.

Ideas to Improve Patient Safety – Requiring Patients to Comply to Conduct Rules to Fight the Opioid Epidemic

The University of Tennessee Medical Center (UTMC) is now requiring patients admitted for medical treatments of drug-use-related infections to comply with new conduct rules. Dr. Jerry Epps, UTMC’s senior vice president and chief medical officer, explains:

“This is done first and foremost for patient safety. When patients are bringing in needles and drugs, and their friends are coming in with drugs, and they can shoot up in the bathroom and maybe kill themselves, I argue we’re doing our best to protect patients and team members from this dreadful problem.”

Good Idea for #Opioidepidemic? - Require Patients to Comply to Conduct Rules Click To Tweet

Ideas to Improve Patient Safety – Encourage COPD Patients to Regularly Exercise

Researchers at the University of Lincoln and the University of Oxford have found:

“Pulmonary rehabilitation — a patient-tailored approach combining exercise, education, and behavioral changes — can improve physical capacity, reduce shortness of breath, and enhance the quality of life of COPD patients.”

Arwel Jones, PhD, research fellow at the Lincoln Institute for Health in the U.K., who is the senior author of the study, discusses the difficulty that such a recommendation may be for COPD patients:

“Being physically active is extremely important for people with COPD, however, people with the disease find it difficult to remain physically active once they have finished pulmonary rehabilitation.”

Encourage #COPD Patients to Regularly Exercise Click To Tweet

Ideas to Improve Patient Safety – Utilize Capnography to Monitoring Patients Under Conscious Sedation

Referring to the clinical education podcast, “Capnography Monitoring During Conscious Sedation: A Must for Maintaining “Eyes and Ears,” Melicent Lavers-Sailly writes about the value of monitoring with capnography:

“Capnography, the measurement of carbon dioxide (CO2) in respiratory gases, has long been used to monitor the breathing of patients under anesthesia in the operating room. Now there is a growing recognition of its value as a reliable tool for monitoring patients under conscious sedation in ambulatory settings outside the OR.”

Utilize Capnography to Monitoring Patients Under Conscious Sedation Click To Tweet

Ideas to Improve Patient Safety – Use Data to Help Make Better Healthcare Decisions & Treatment Choices

In the article, “The benefits of leveraging data and analytics in EMS,” Dr. Brent Myers makes the case for using date to help make better healthcare decisions and treatment choices. Rather than make decisions “either guessing or using their gut,” Dr. Myers encourages “leveraging data to make smarter decisions.”

He provides two examples where data has helped make smarter decisions:

“For example, stroke assessment and care have changed since the beginning of 2018, dramatically. This can’t be emphasized enough as the entire industry is still processing this information. Two recent studies – the DAWN Trial and the DEFUSE-3 Study – highlight findings that provide new guidelines for stroke patient assessment and transport. Specifically, these studies indicate the benefit of extending the treatment window to 16 or even 24 hours after the onset of symptoms for a subset of patients with large vessel occlusion acute ischemic stroke (LVO-AIS).

“While the nearest hospital may have been an appropriate destination in the past, the new research indicates transport to the nearest thrombectomy-capable or comprehensive stroke center may be preferred for those with evidence of LVO-AIS, even when it is not the nearest facility.”

Use Data to Help Make Better Healthcare Decisions & Treatment Choices Click To Tweet

Ideas to Improve Patient Safety – Reducing Psychological Distress May Decrease the Risk of COPD and Other Diseases

A research team led by Catharine Gale, PhD, a professor at the University of Edinburgh and at MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, reviewed the clinical records of 16,485 individuals over a three-year period and found that psychological distress may increase the risk of COPD and other diseases:

“The study showed that, compared with people who had no symptoms of psychological distress, those with low levels of distress had a 57% increased chance of having arthritis and those with moderate distress levels had a 72% increased chance. A similar pattern was reported regarding cardiovascular diseases, with low distress levels increasing the risk by 46% and moderate levels by 77%.”

Reducing Psychological Distress May Decrease the Risk of COPD and Other Diseases Click To Tweet