Safety

Make your hospital safer by building a surveillance team

Hospital Safety Insider, September 24, 2015

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It is a good idea to conduct surveillance rounds as an interdisciplinary process by including representatives from the different departments that provide and support patient care. It is also important to involve the department managers in the planning and scheduling of visits to their departments or units and encourage their active participation in the visit. Also, it is important to involve them when it comes time to evaluate findings and report results. You don't want the manager to be caught by surprise in front of leadership when asked about a certain condition on their unit. Collaboration goes a long way in these types of situations.
 

  • The surveillance team needs to be large enough to include an effective cross-section of support departments. Yet if the team is too large, it could impair the effectiveness and efficiency of the surveillance rounds. Surveillance teams are typically a subcommittee of the larger safety committee. As people experienced in committee dynamics know, there are optimal sizes for committees to operate effectively. Typically, a committee or surveillance team should consist of no more than six to eight people for optimal performance.
     
  • One of the main characteristics of a successful surveillance rounds program is the identification of a leader who is committed to the process and goals. That said, this leader doesn't necessarily have to be you. You may find it more useful for the team to be led by a representative from the department being surveyed. On patient care units, for example, you may want to ask a member of patient care services to lead the survey. Although they may not be entirely comfortable leading this process, having them serve as leader will help you identify instances in which the definitions of safety diverge.
     
  • Take into account, on a practical level, which departments comprise the six areas of the Environment of Care (EC) standards and include someone from each area. For example, safety, biomedical engineering, and security might be at the top of the list. Other representatives to consider might be housekeeping, maintenance, and infection control staff. In addition to these representatives, you will, in keeping with the concept of cooperation and inclusiveness, invite a nursing or laboratory department representative to join you, along with a representative of the area you are visiting

In this excerpt from the hot-off-the-press new HCPro book, The Hospital Safety Professional's Handbook, Fifth Edition, author Cindy Taylor, ARM, CSPHP, director of environmental health and safety for University of North Carolina Hospitals, Chapel Hill, discusses the importance of sharing the responsibility of security rounds and shares some new information covered in the updated edition of the book.

Visit http://hcmarketplace.com/hospital-safety-professionals-handbook-fifth-edition for more information.



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