No one enters the hospital expecting to get sicker. But on any given day, 1 out of 25 hospital patients in the U.S. has at least one infection contracted during their stay, according to a 2011 study by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition to infections, hospitalized patients are also at risk of developing hospital-acquired pressure injuries — also known as bedsores — and experiencing falls that result in injury.
Kaiser Permanente was among a select group of health care organizations recognized for efforts to reduce these occurrences by the Collaborative Alliance for Nursing Outcomes in its 2017 Annual Performance Excellence Awards. The group recognized hospitals for exceptional and sustained performance in reducing hospital-acquired infections, pressure injuries and falls. Thirty-one Kaiser Permanente medical centers were recognized for their efforts at increasing patient safety outcomes at a recent ceremony in Seattle.
“Safety is the highest priority for any patient entering our hospitals, and it begins the moment they come through our doors,” said Patrick Courneya, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals.
“This recognition by CALNOC highlights Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to safe, reliable care,” Dr. Courneya said. “By preventing infection and injury to our patients, we’re able to get them home faster and healthier, so they can get back to their lives and families.”
The nursing connection
During patients’ time in the hospital, nurses are usually the providers who spend the most time at the bedside administering care. They are present for admission and intake, and accompany their patients through treatment and recovery — monitoring and assessing their health along the way.
“This is an important recognition of how well our nurses keep patients safe and free from harm,” said Linda Knodel, MSN, FAAN, senior vice president and chief nurse executive at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals.
“In the hospital, a patient’s health needs and condition can change daily, hourly, even minute to minute,” Knodel said. “Nurses manage complex care plans and treatment for multiple patients simultaneously — all while maintaining patient safety as the top priority. Their clinical expertise and knowledge is critical in preventing infections and injuries.”
At the CALNOC event, several of the 50 Kaiser Permanente nurses in attendance gave presentations on best practices for safe, high-quality care. They also shared success stories from their facilities, highlighting how they developed and implemented new methods or systems for improved safety.
Raising the bar on safety
CALNOC is a national benchmarking registry that tracks and reports hospital performance in nurse sensitive metrics, measuring nursing’s impact on the delivery of safe, reliable care. Categories for the Annual Performance Excellence Awards include the prevention of pressure injuries, injuries from falls and infections such as MRSA and C. difficile. Scores are compared to the industry, and winning hospitals are those that have performed at the highest levels consistently and sustained that performance over time.
Although participation in the CALNOC registry is voluntary, all Kaiser Permanente hospitals have participated since CALNOC’s inception, as part of the organization’s commitment to improving health outcomes within its own system and influencing best practices in the larger health care industry.
“Kaiser Permanente has a long history of strong nursing leadership and excellence,” said Knodel. “Since our organization’s founding, our nurses have played a vital role in shaping how we care for our members and deliver on our promise of helping them achieve total health.”