Canadian Patient Safety Week (CPSW) is an annual national campaign that aims to make the public aware that asking questions can have a large impact on reducing errors while receiving health care services. Lack of communication between patients and providers, between staff in healthcare facilities/programs, and between public and policymakers are the main contributing factors to these types of incidents. CPSW is relevant to everyone who is involved with the healthcare system.
During CPSW 2019 (October 28 – November 1), the theme was “Conquer Silence.”
4th year Brandon University nursing students promoted the need for patients, families, and health care providers to ‘speak up’ in the moment when something looks wrong, feels wrong, or is wrong.
The students provided information on patient safety in the Brandon Regional Health Center (BRHC) lobby. The aim was to inform visitors, patients and staff that it is safe to ask questions when receiving or providing health care services. Information handed out included the PMH Patient Passport, PMH Patient Safety Information Sheet and PMH Speak Up Pamphlet, as well as a medication card and patient advocate information. Participants at the display were encouraged to write down a question they might ask when receiving health care services. Some examples were: “Why am I getting this medication?”, “Have you washed your hands?”, “Why are you waking me up at 5 a.m. to take my vitals?”, “Explain in detail my health status and my restrictions.” The written questions were displayed for others to read.
During CPSW, the students learned that many people are often reluctant to speak up about their care – regardless if it is to doctors, nurses, or other health care providers. When asked why, the overall response was people are afraid to question someone who knows what the best treatment option may be for them.
When patients are included in decisions and have the proper education about their care, safety will increase with better health effects. The biggest advocate for yourself is YOU. The theme “Conquer Silence” sends an important message to Canadians. To battle this “silent epidemic” speaking up and working together will help to improve safety within the health care system. Add “Conquer Silence” to your New Year’s Resolution list!
Pictured L-R: Ashley Baloun, Mikayla Cherneski, Jaydene Somerville (BU Nursing Students), Marcia Snyder (Project Mentor) promoting patient safety in BRHC during CPSW.