Butler County Times Gazette
  • Q5: Protecting the 'right to optimal care'

  • Hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers around the country will recognize June 11 as National Time Out Day, an event designed to reinforce the practice of confirming correct patient and procedure information before procedures begin.
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  • Hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers around the country will recognize June 11 as National Time Out Day, an event designed to reinforce the practice of confirming correct patient and procedure information before procedures begin.
    Time Out Day was created in 2004, and is a Joint Commission Universal Protocol requirement. Nonetheless, an estimated 40-60 wrong site surgeries occur each week in the U.S.
    Christine Blackburn, formerly of Leavenworth, and a nurse at St. Joseph (Mo.) Medical Center, said the mistakes are correctable. She discusses Time Out Day and its importance more in this Q5.
    1. Christine, what's the purpose of National Time Out Day and who came up with the idea and why?
    "National Time Out Day was created to raise awareness about the importance of requiring the entire surgical team to pause before all invasive procedures. National Time Out Day was created by the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses."
     
    2. What are the requirements of the Joint Commission Universal Protocol before operative and other invasive procedures?
    "The Joint Commission requires: conducting a time out immediately before starting the invasive procedures or making the incision; a designated member of the team starts the time out; the time out is standardized; all relevant members of the procedure team actively communicate during the time out; during the time out, the team members agree at a minimum on the correct patient identity, correct site, and procedure to be done; the procedure is not started until all questions or concerns are resolved; and document the completion of the time out."
     
    3. Despite the requirement, 40-60 wrong site surgeries likely occur in the U.S. each week. Why are so many still happening and does National Time Out Day bring more awareness to this issue?
    "Yes, the Time Out Day does bring awareness to the health care providers if the institution recognizes this and celebrates the day.
    "At St. Joe, we are going to have a table by the cafeteria with signs, a ‘time out' cake, and a crossword puzzle with a winning prize.
    "This is to encourage our staff to get on board with our time out process and to educate our patients and their families that St. Joseph Medical Center gives optimal patient care."
     
    4. Wrong patient, wrong site, wrong procedures are described by the Joint Commission as "an unexpected occurrence involving death or serious physical or psychological injury, or the risk thereof." How do perioperative nurses such as yourself view these incidents?
    "We view these as tragedies that could have been prevented with effective communication to the entire health care team at all times. The time out is about effective, standardized communication."
    Page 2 of 2 - 5. If a person is going to have surgery or a medical procedure, what can he or she do to help ensure no mistakes are made?
    "Be an active participant in your own care, listen to your health care providers and redirect when there is misinformation. It is never wrong to correct a health care provider about your information — you are the guardian of your information.
    "You and your loved ones have the right to optimal care."
    — Rimsie McConiga

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