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Community Hospital becoming safer for patients

Grays Harbor Community Hospital says they’ve exceeded their goals to reduce patient falls, surgical site infections and bed sores.

Hospital Chief Quality Officer Marilyn Hegger-Guy admits the news isn’t very sexy, but it should be very important news for both patients and hospital staff.

Reducing hospital falls has been a big deal for the hospital for particularly the past decade, showing an increased focus in patient care and staff training, Hegger-Guy said. In 2012, the hospital had a fall rate of 1.1 for every 1,000 patient days. That compares to the national benchmark of 3.63 falls for every 1,000 patient days, as set by the National Database for Nursing Quality Indicators.

Hegger-Guy said the big reasons hospital falls are going down is simply having staff make the rounds from patient to patient to see what their needs are.

“A lot of times when a patient had go to the bathroom, they need help but didn’t ask for it because when you have to go, you need to go,” she said.

The hospital has bed alarms in case a patient falls out of bed, but most of the time it doesn’t come to that.

Hospital staff also identified areas with orange markings if they saw fall risk spots, she said.

“We developed a falls program and that falls program was hard wired,” Hegger-Guy said.

Other stats show that the hospital saw that only 0.4 percent of all surgical operations developed a surgical site infection that could be MRSA or another kind of infection. But the rate compares to a benchmark of 2.4 percent.

“We’re doing great here,” Hegger-Guy said.

Stage 2 hospital-acquired pressure ulcers — sometimes called bed sores — also came in at 0 percent last year, which is precisely what the national benchmark is.