5 important patient safety supplies for hospitals

As hospitals strive to reduce medical errors and keep patients safe, there are a few things they should be sure to supply to employees to achieve that goal.

The following are five tools, supplies and resources hospitals need to have to ensure patient safety, as provided by Lori Pilla, RN, vice president of clinical advantage and supply chain optimization for Amerinet, a group purchasing organization.

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1. Chair and bed protection against falls. Things like fall risk indicators, bed and chair exit alarms, floor mats, hip protectors and side rail protectors can help minimize the likelihood of patient falls.

2. Supplies to prevent bloodstream infections. Hospitals should provide protective equipment, like masks, caps, sterile gowns and gloves to people inserting central venous catheters and a head-to-toe sterile drape for the patient, according to Ms. Pilla. Antimicrobial or antiseptic-impregnated catheters or disinfection cap systems can also protect patients from bloodstream infections.

3. Alcohol-based hand rubs. Hand hygiene is of upmost importance when it comes to preventing healthcare-associated infections, and hand sanitizer has several benefits, like being faster, more accessible and gentler on the skin, according to Ms. Pilla.

4. Medication labeling systems. Such systems that work with hospital, pharmacy and lab software can help prevent medication errors, which cause thousands of deaths in the U.S. each year.

5. Continuing education. While this is not a physical supply, providing access to continuing education can help hospital staff stay up to date with the most recent standards and best practices, thus protecting patients.

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