SPECIAL EDITION: Coverage from the Hospital Safety Center Symposium

Hospital Safety Insider, May 14, 2009

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Hospital actions in response to the H1N1 swine flu outbreak served as a "good dress rehearsal" for medical centers, but also showed that the healthcare field still has a way to go when handling national emergencies.

Those are immediate issues to discuss with your emergency managers, said Joseph Cappiello, chair of Cappiello & Associates in Elmhurst, IL, who spoke at the 3rd Annual Hospital Safety Center Symposium yesterday in Las Vegas. The symposium wraps up this morning.

"[H1N1] pushed pandemic planning from the back burner, at least for a short while … to the front burner," Cappiello said.

Hospital safety officers, facility director, and emergency management coordinators will need to keep a close eye on what happens with H1N1 in the fall as the flu season gears up, he added.

Also, take critical note of any disconnects you noticed between your hospital and your public health agencies during the H1N1 scare and look for opportunities to improve the lines of communication.

Other highlights from the symposium:
  • Safety professionals should stay familiar with various standards icons introduced by The Joint Commission this year (e.g., a circled "D" for documentation requirements), said Dean Samet, director of regulatory compliance with Smith Seckman Reid, Inc., based in Nashville. Not only are the symbols relevant to scoring, but they are provide useful, clear guidance about standards’ expectations, Samet said.
  • Inaccurate or incomplete life safety drawings, such as those marking fire and smoke barrier walls, could result in a citation under Joint Commission standard LS.01.01.01, said Brad Keyes, safety consultant with The Greeley Company, a division of HCPro in Marblehead, MA. Beyond accreditation concerns, accurate life safety drawings also help staff members better understand where barrier walls exist.

Check out Mac’s Safety Space blog for further coverage from the Hospital Safety Center Symposium, and look for more detailed analysis in an upcoming issue of Briefings on Hospital Safety, part of the Hospital Safety Center.

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