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4 Key Ways We Prioritize Patient Safety Awareness at OHOW

We’re celebrating Patient Safety Awareness Week. While you may not have heard of this “holiday,” it’s one we hold near and dear at Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin. Our commitment to patient safety is our highest priority.

We strive to keep our patients safe every day by communicating clearly and taking every step necessary to prevent potential problems. At OHOW, we know the majority of complications after surgery are preventable with improved patient safety awareness.

Whether you’re undergoing an outpatient procedure, an overnight stay, or a therapy visit, patient safety awareness is our driving force. Our staff is deeply committed to deliver the safe care our patients expect and our organization relies on. Patient Safety Awareness Week is the perfect time to share our approaches that comprise the OHOW difference.

1. We Maintain a High Nurse-to-Patient Ratio

At OHOW, we know individualized attention is essential for patient safety. We put that priority into action with a high nurse-to-patient ratio.

Nurses are the gatekeepers of patient safety, spending the most one-on-one time with patients. When given time and proper resources, they can diligently focus on the patients in their care.  Typically, our nurses oversee just 3-4 patients on any given shift on the inpatient unit. This nurse-to-patient ratio is far below the current averages throughout the nation, and our patients can feel the difference.

Our inpatient nurse manager, Amy Leppla, says, “I’m proud to be part of an organization that understands the importance of patient safety and knows that the best way to achieve safe care delivery is to have high nurse-to-patient ratios.”

Studies have repeatedly shown that when nurses oversee too many patients in a shift, those patients are at risk. Incidents of falls, injuries, preventable medical errors, medical complications, increased length of hospital stays, and re-admissions increase whenever nurses are understaffed.

Amy says, “Our nurse-to-patient ratios are optimal to provide safe care by allowing the nurses the resource of time. This time allows each interaction with each patient to be done correctly and accurately.”

Our high nurse-to-patient ratios allow our staff to pay attention to the small stuff, ensuring we provide you with accurate care of the highest quality. At OHOW we have an uncommon focus on you, the patient, so you always receive safe and outstanding care.

2. Infection Prevention and Control

A large part of OHOW’s patient safety awareness is focused on infection prevention and control. Preventing infection goes above and beyond simple hospital hygiene. We have stringent protocols to ensure we are always aware of our patients’ health.

As a patient, you’re hoping to recover quickly after your procedure. A healthy body will ensure a quicker recovery and return to your day-to-day activities. Post-surgery, you don’t want an infection slowing you down or sidelining your progress. Infection prevention is a critical part of a successful surgery and recovery process.

OHOW has many strict procedures in place to ensure that each patient and our staff are provided with the highest quality infection control. We follow all infection prevention best practices, like proper hand washing, precise sterilizing techniques, wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, and sterile preparation for surgery.

OHOW consistently monitors and educates staff on the importance of infection prevention procedures throughout the hospital to provide our patients with the best possible safety and care.

3. Monitoring & Promoting Patient Safety Awareness

Studies show that medical errors are a leading cause of patient harm in the United States. Unfortunately, many of these missteps are preventable with more attention and a higher level of patient safety awareness. In the worst cases, medical errors have a long-term impact on the patient’s physical health, emotional health, financial well-being, or family relationships.

Patient safety awareness is something we focus on continuously. We make all decisions with our patients’ safety and well-being at the forefront, from the strategic design of our facility to the brand of hand sanitizer we purchase. We take every step necessary to keep our patients safe, and we have a proven track record of our commitment. We measure our success by award-winning patient satisfaction and recognition we’ve received for our low infection rates.

In 2019, the Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin was the proud recipient of the Healthgrades Patient Safety Excellence Award. We were awarded this honor for our high patient safety ratings and exceptional quality of care. Our eligibility was based on our rank among the top 80% of hospitals for clinical quality, zero foreign-object incidents during surgery, and a high score on seven patient safety indicators.

We take pride in this award because it acknowledges our hard work and top-of-the-line commitment to safeguarding our patients against potential complications.

4. Ensuring Patient Safety Even After You Leave Our Care

We make sure you have the proper resources to remain safe even after you leave our care. Before hospital discharge, we provide patients with detailed educational instructions to guarantee a safe transition home. Our patient safety awareness transcends your time under our roof, and we want you to leave the hospital armed with the tools needed to minimize your risk for future injuries or complications.

We also foster an environment of open communication with our patients, encouraging them to ask questions and bring up concerns throughout any procedure. An essential part of patient safety awareness is helping patients to be their best advocate for their needs during any health care experience. Patients, families, and health care providers can play a strong role in advancing safe health care and a positive hospital experience. Our patients have high expectations for safe delivery of care, and we’re committed to meeting and exceeding those expectations.

When receiving health care services at the Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin, rest assured that you are receiving safe care from a hospital that has worked to build a culture of safety throughout all aspects of the organization. We keep patient safety at the center of our focus by delivering what we call the OHOW difference—to go above and beyond for our patients, providing safe, excellent care. 

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