What World Patient Safety Day and Day of Reconciliation have in common
The Day of Reconciliation marks a significant day in history for various reasons that each South African holds dear. 16 December was celebrated as a public holiday after the 1994 democratic elections in order to help South Africans reunite and reconcile with a promise of a shared future regardless of race or culture.
However, long before this day came the Day of the Vow which was instated during the Apartheid era where a group of Afrikaners had to move inland to escape the British colonialism and had to prepare to battle with the Zulu people whom with they were having a land dispute. On 16 December, the Voortrekkers made a sacred vow that every future generation would celebrate this day as a day of thanksgiving and victory in order to help them through the battle with the Zulu people.
On the subject of reconciliation; all South Africans are to be treated as equal and should therefore, as a matter of importance, be given access to quality and safe healthcare which brings us to World Patient Safety Day.
The World Health Organisation have found patient safety to be a big concern across the globe and estimates who that as many as 1 in 10 patients are harmed while in fact receiving medical treatment in hospital.
Every patient has a right to feel safe and comfortable while being treated in medical establishments yet even with the great advancements in medical technology, the margin for mistakes still have grown bigger and bigger over the years. A shortage of skilled medical specialists and staff plays a big role in the lack of patient safety in South Africa.
The South African Society of Anaesthesiologists noted that due to the severe shortage of specialists, everyone is working unimaginable hours with no people to safely cover all procedures and ensure patient safety.
5 basic strategies to implement in order to reduce the risk of errors occurring in a medical establishment.
- Implement realistic and structured shift rosters: One of the biggest causes of serious errors are overworked staff and a lack of communication pertaining to staff shifts. Make use of checklists to ensure that when handoff between staff is done, that nothing is every missed.
- Pharmacists should be more directly involved in patient treatment: Including pharmacists in patient treatment allows the doctor to work with the pharmacist on a closer level to ensure that the patient is given the best drugs with the least amount of complications.
- Continuously work to reduce infections: Hospital-acquired infections are probably a patient’s worst nightmare. It is therefore vital that all staff at a hospital be vigilant and word together to ensure that all patient rooms, surgical tools, labs and other areas are completely hygienic and disinfected.
- Avoid diagnostic errors: Apart from making mistakes when diagnosing a patient, medical professionals can also delay diagnoses or over-diagnose a patient which can all lead serious errors. The entire care team should be involved when diagnosing a patient.
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