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Posted: Tuesday, February 12th 2013 at 2:31pm

HCMC wins statewide patient safety award

By Staff
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Receiving the prestigious Circle of Excellence honor from Joseph Parker, president of the Georgia Hospital Association, at a special award ceremony in Atlanta were, L-R: Habersham Medical Center’s Janice McKenzie, senior vice president for patient care services, Teri Newsome, vice president of quality management, and Kaye Stanley, physical therapist.
ATLANTA – The Partnership for Health and Accountability (PHA) presented its prestigious Quality and Patient Safety Award to Habersham Medical Center for its project that eliminated pressure ulcers.

The project titled, “Relieving Pressure from Head to Toe – Eliminating Hospital-acquired Pressure Ulcers,” won first place in the in the Hospitals with Less than 100 Beds Category.

Habersham was also presented with a Circle of Excellence Award, an honor given to hospitals and health systems that have demonstrated a "sustained commitment to quality and patient safety" as evidenced by not only winning a patient safety award in 2012, but also by earning three or more PHA Patient Safety Awards within the previous five years.

These annual awards recognize Georgia health care organizations for achievement in reducing the risk of medical errors and improving patient safety and medical outcomes, and there are only nine hospitals or health systems in the state included in the Circle of Excellence.

Pressure ulcers are injuries to the skin that result from prolonged pressure. Because they may be confined to bed for long periods of time, hospital patients are at a higher risk for developing pressure ulcers. Studies have shown ulcers can jeopardize patient safety and quality of care. They can also lead to adverse outcomes, exacerbate chronic illnesses, and contribute to an increased 30-day hospital readmission rate.

The goal of Habersham Medical Center’s project was to reduce the occurrence of pressure ulcers by 25 percent. A multidisciplinary team reviewed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) guidelines and researched best practices. Team members evaluated the skin products being used on hospital patients as well as those in other area health care sites, including long-term care facilities, assisted living centers, and home health agencies. With the assistance of the Georgia Medical Care Foundation (GMCF), the hospital hosted a regional meeting where staff and the community were educated on skin precautions and wound care.

The patient discharge and patient communication processes were evaluated and improved where necessary. For example, the hospital and area health care facilities agreed upon a common patient assessment tool in transition of care. This resulted in patients receiving clear instructions for a continued healing process for any wounds present at discharge before being sent home or to another organization.

Results showed a 100 percent decrease in pressure ulcers and a 42 percent decrease in 30-day readmissions. The hospital also had a more clearly defined process of communication for the next level of care.

“Habersham Medical Center has demonstrated focus and positive change in the key areas of pressure ulcer prevention as well as transition of care,” said Georgia Hospital Association (GHA) President Joseph Parker. “We applaud the hospital for its leadership and dedication in these areas and its commitment to providing the best and safest care possible for its patients.”
Associated Categories: Business News, Local/State News

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