Patient safety campaign hits growth spurt

Patient safety campaign hits growth spurt

After more than two years of helping health-care providers increase patient safety in acute care settings, Safer Healthcare Now (SHN) is taking its first official foray into long-term care.

The second phase of the SHN Campaign, aimed at reducing the number of preventable complications and fatalities though the implementation of six specific strategies called interventions, was announced July 5 along with four new interventions and two pilot projects.

Since April 2005, more than 600 teams representing about 185 health-care organizations have been participating in the largest national campaign to improve patient safety in Canadian history.

The new interventions focus on adverse drug events in long-term care, falls in long-term care, antibiotic resistant organisms and venous thromboembolism.

“It’s not a matter of what these do that the others don’t,” says Phil Hassen, chair of the SHN steering committee and CEO of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute.

“What we’ve gone through is a process of looking at the field of interest and what can make a difference and what evidence we have.”

Hassen says approximately 200 proposals were solicited from people in the health-care field with suggestions as to what areas this second set of interventions should focus on. The list of 200 was whittled down to 40 before the final topics were chosen.

“There’s a lot to be done, it’s just a matter of finding out which ones made sense, had good evidence and could be effectively implemented with significant impact,” Hassen says.

Although the getting started kits for the new interventions won’t be ready until September, Hassen is urging health organizations to examine the potential impact the interventions could have on patient safety and decide whether to take them on.

The two pilot projects announced by SHN focus on the prevention of adverse drug events through medication reconciliation in home care and high risk medication delivery in paediatric care.

Hassen says the reason they were chosen as pilot projects as opposed to interventions, is because there isn’t a lot of evidenced based data to support their effectiveness.

“The evidence is not as well prescribed, especially in home care, (and) we don’t know the extent of the problem or whether it can actually work,” he says. “We’re trying to figure out how the problem is and how big an impact this can have in one fell-swoop.”

For more information on the new interventions, visit