Tag Archives: advocacy

Healthcare Horrors!

This Halloween we are launching the first in a series of blog posts about something really SCARY – Healthcare.

HEALTHCARE HORRORS!!

You may be surprised to learn that medical errors are the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States surpassed only by cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Hospitals can be scarier than any house of horror. It is estimated that more than 130,000 errors occur each month in the nation’s hospitals. Each month!!!

Deaths due to medical errors have increased to about 210,000-440,000 per year.
Some of the most common medical errors—and this is scary–

  • Medication errors-
  • Infections
  • Falls
  • Wrong site surgery
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Failure to identify the correct patient — Care provided to the wrong person

Unlike cardiovascular disease and cancer, there are few public campaigns aimed at preventing the occurrence of medical errors. Efforts to reduce medical errors are leaving out the most important stakeholders: PATIENTS!

Wilson-Stronks is changing how medical errors are being prevented. Learn more on our Advocacy Page and our Advocacy Blog.

Putting Patients in Patient Safety

It is time for us to become smarter about our healthcare! Many medical errors are preventable, and patients are a key element to creating systems of care to minimize error and improve safety.

A few tips for protecting yourself and those you care about:

  • Don’t go alone! Just as we don’t allow children to trick-or-treat alone, anyone receiving healthcare is by definition vulnerable and should have a care companion/support person with them. Learn more
  • Wash away the scary bugs! Make sure that all caregivers including your physician wash their hands before they touch you. Who knows what monster they were treating before they arrived to care for you! Learn more
  • Don’t be afraid to ask! If something doesn’t make sense, ask. Healthcare is complicated and confusing. Bring a list of questions and paper and pen to write down notes about your care. Learn more

Learn More: Our Patient Advocacy Program Continue reading

Advocating for Change: Improving Healthcare

Posted by Amy Wilson-Stronks

I am fortunate to have a very wide, robust, multi-disciplinary, diverse network of colleagues and friends with expertise in many areas related directly and indirectly to healthcare. I have had many conversations with my network about our healthcare system, and unashamedly, I find myself frustrated with how healthcare is delivered. I am stunned at the lack of sincere focus on the patient.

Sure, “patient engagement,” “population health,” “patient experience,” and “patient satisfaction” cover the pages of healthcare trade publications. But as I work with healthcare organizations, I see that sincere attention to the needs, beliefs, and expectations of the patients, families, and communities receiving care is relatively rare.

I know that there are many reasons for the lack of awareness, and but the issue does not exist because healthcare providers don’t care about their patients. However, competing priorities, the complexity of payment systems, staffing challenges, and the burden of documentation and electronic record systems limits the time that direct care staff and clinicians have to communicate effectively with patients and family members in order to sincerely understand the patient.

Historically, Wilson-Stronks has engaged clients by collaborating with healthcare organizations to help them create systems that support effective patient-provider communication and understanding. Unfortunately, effective communication is an area of quality and safety improvement and risk reduction that is not always viewed as a priority. We are left to wonder, “Well then, WHAT? What CAN we do to improve healthcare?”

A conversation last summer finally made things click. Ilene Corina, a grass-roots patient safety advocate and trainer, responded to my laments regarding patient provider-communication with this comment,

“That’s why I work with patients. (Decision-makers) don’t really know what is happening at the bedside. They sit behind their desks and hold meetings. And when they are on the units, it’s a show in their honor; unlikely the day-to-day reality faced by most direct care staff, clinicians, and patients.”

Ilene helped me (finally) understand how Wilson-Stronks can have a more meaningful impact: Working to empower the people who are at the patient’s bedside–the family caregiver; the healthcare proxy; the support person. I don’t know why it took me so long to get it, but my conversations with Ilene inspire our launch of the Wilson-Stronks Improving Healthcare Advocacy Program: Putting Patients in Patient Safety.

Many people who read this blog may have had personal experiences that made them aware of the gaps in the healthcare system. Some people may know about the gaps from the experiences of a friend or family member. Others may be familiar with issues because they are among the direct care staff trying to find the time and resources to sincerely understand their patients. Many of you have shared your stories with me, as I have shared my own.

But FINALLY I get it, and now Wilson-Stronks is ready to act: the only way to really improve healthcare is by taking our care into our own hands and educating and empowering those around us who have less medical and health literacy than we do.

I hope I can share some great success stories with you soon. Please know that the power of your stories can have a positive influence, and I thank you all for sharing to help the rest of us better understand what it is like to be in the hospital gown and sitting at the bedside of our loved one.