Healthworker safety was the focus of many World Patient Safety Day (17 September 2020) initiatives across the globe. Health economist Luke Slawomirski took the reins of @WePublicHealth, Croakey’s rotated, curated Twitter account, to explore the many reports, activities and research projects promoted last week.
Below is our wrap of the highlights.
Speaking up for safety
‘Safe workers, safe patients’ was the WHO’s message to mark World Patient Safety Day 2020.
WHO noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had “unveiled the huge challenges and risks health workers are facing globally including health care associated infections, violence, stigma, psychological and emotional disturbances, illness and even death”.
WHO’s call for action was to ‘Speak up for health worker safety!’, and the organisation set five goals for the coming year:
Goal 1: Prevent sharps injuries
Goal 2: Reduce work-related stress and burnout
Goal 3: Improve the use of personal protection equipment
Goal 4: Promote zero tolerance of violence against health workers
Goal 5: Report and analyse serious safety incidents.
More research is needed to address the unique patient safety challenges in inpatient mental health settings, say researchers in The BMJ Open.
The researchers said that patients in inpatient mental health settings faced many similar risks to those in other areas of healthcare, but there they also faced additional challenges. For instance, measures to prevent self-harm may include restraint and this presented a further risk to patients.
After conducting a systematic review of more than 360 articles and abstracts, the researchers concluded that patient safety in mental health settings was under-researched in comparison to general patient safety. They said investment in research, policy development, and translation into clinical practice was needed.
Two reports were released by the OECD to coincide with this year’s World Patient Safety Day.
The first report – ‘The economics of patient safety Part III: Long-term care’ – highlighted the need to value safety in long-term care institutions.
The report noted that such institutions were now providing care to ever greater numbers of residents with chronic conditions and multiple comorbidities. The authors noted that the total cost of avoidable hospital admissions from long-term care facilities in 2016 was almost $US18 billion ($A24.6 billion).
“The root causes of these events can be addressed through improved prevention and safety practices and workforce development – including skill-mix and education,” they reported.
In the second report – ‘System governance towards improved patient safety’ – the function and uptake of patient safety governance was explored. The authors noted that a 2019 OECD survey of patient safety governance found that all 25 countries that responded to the survey had enacted legislation to promote patient safety.
Accident models and theoretical foundations can play a key role in investigating healthcare accidents, researchers have reported in the International Journal for Quality in Health Care.
Researchers, including Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite of the Australian Institute of Health Innovation, wrote that safety science had devoted significant efforts to investigating and theorizing about accidents. “Why doesn’t healthcare pay more interest to these theories when investigating healthcare accidents?”
The researchers wrote that there was an “an untapped improvement potential for healthcare safety investigations” and they suggested new ways of integrating accident theoretical reflections with investigatory practice.
To maximise healthcare worker safety during the COVID-19 pandemic and promote the correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE), Monash University researchers have developed a series of visual aids and safety briefing processes.
The posters – designed researchers in the Design Health Collab at Monash University’s Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, in collaboration with COVID19AsOne public health initiative – use infographics to highlight COVID-19 health and hygiene precautions and are being deployed across the Monash Health network.
Around one in 10 confirmed COVID-19 infections globally are among healthcare workers, an International Council of Nurses (ICN) survey reported last week.
The survey of 52 associations in 50 countries with high numbers of COVID-19 caseloads, also reported that more than 1,000 nurses across 44 countries had died from COVID-19.
Burnout, anxiety, depression, and fear of stigma was common among nurses, with the survey finding that 60% of the participating nursing associations had “sometimes or regularly” received reports of mental health distress from nurses in COVID-19 response.
• This week, follow Brenna Bernadino – @brennabernadin – who is tweeting from Okinawa, Japan, about sexual and reproductive health in the lead up to World Contraception Day on September 26 #WCD2020. You can also follow her at @ReproJusticeAus.