'Patient safety room of horrors' helps med students prepare for hospital mishaps

At the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, a "patient safety room of horrors" is helping medical students and residents identify hospital room mistakes before they occur, according to a blog post on the AMA Wire.

The tool is used for preclinical medical students during their second year and reintroduced to them when they finish their third-year clerkships. The initiative is also part of the university's resident boot camp before they start practice.

Before entering the room of horrors, students receive a mock door chart that describes a fake patient's condition, including allergies and complications. They have 15 minutes to identify all safety hazards around the patient.

The room helps residents check to ensure patients are getting the right medications, their allergies are accounted for and safety railings are in use on hospital beds. They also check for cost hazards, such as catheters or hand restraints that are unneeded.

"When you walk into a patient's room, it's not just the medications, but many things that can put your patient at risk for some reason or other, resulting in either a near-miss or adverse event," said Jeanne Farnan, MD, associate professor of medicine and associate dean of evaluation and continuous quality improvement at the University of Chicago. "We try to make our residents and students very vigilant about recognizing that by stressing the importance of situational awareness."

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