SHERIDAN — In an effort to continue improving safety at Sheridan Memorial Hospital, staff plans to implement additional safety systems to protect patients during their stay.

Chief Nursing Officer Barb Hespen shared a review and updates to safety practices for staff at a board meeting Feb. 5.

“We’ve gone through some reworks with our safety code,” SMH CEO Mike McCafferty said. “Through this process of Lean, we’ve learned so much about the way we approach the work that we do and what we’re establishing as our goals that will really give us the most strategic impact.

“Over time, the safety code has been a great example of trying to identify what is the right work for us to do to make the most impact on the organization,” he said.

Last year, the organization set a goal of reducing patient falls with injury to zero by Dec. 31, 2019. Hespen said staff noticed a rise in patient falls with injuries at the beginning of 2019.

“We did collect some data and found that most of our falls were happening in what we call the bathroom journey,” Hespen said. “Patients were getting up to go to the bathroom, walking to the bathroom, coming back from the bathroom, so we put these interventions in place so we could keep people safe in that bathroom journey time.”

Administration implemented those interventions August 2019 and since that time SMH had no patient falls with injury, Hespen said. Instead of this remaining a temporary initiative, Hespen said she hopes the new integrations will be a “hard-wired” part of staff practice.

“When we have a fall, we review and make sure all those interventions are in place and add another if we need to keep the patient safe,” Hespen said.

Although staff experienced positive progress in patient safety, regulatory agents require zero harm to patients.

With that goal in mind, Hespen said administration continues to reach the goal of zero by implementing additional steps to ensure patient safety.

SMH plans to implement that goal throughout the entirety of the organization and look to two focuses to drive the reduction of patient harm: SMH’s health and safety culture by re-implementing team steps, or handoffs for patient safety; and infrastructure safety and response led by Dr. John Addlesperger.

Infrastructure safety includes daily safety briefings, how staff escalates when SMH experiences a safety event and what staff puts in place to keep people safe.

“We want zero harm for our patients,” Hespen said. “We’re aiming to reduce patient harm by 50% by December of 2022.”