Hospital-acquired infections are infections that develop during the course of a patient's hospitalization. They may develop because the patient’s medical condition makes them susceptible to infections; because they had a surgical procedure; because they have a catheter in their urinary tract, nose, mouth or blood vessels; or because they have aspirated (inhaled) material from the nose or mouth into the lungs. Some of these infections can be prevented by utilizing best practices.
Click here to learn more about the following topics:
- Hand Hygiene
- Surgical Site Infections
- Central Line Infections
- Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia
- Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections
Cooper University Health Care is committed to ensuring the “seven rights” of safe medication administration – right patient, right drug, right dose, right time, right route, right reason and right documentation. This commitment, combined with leadership support, has led Cooper to adopt new prescribing and medication administration technologies that assist in reducing in medication errors.
What we are doing to ensure medication safety
- Computerized Physician Order Entry System: Our computerized physician order entry system, or CPOE, enables physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners to enter orders for medications or diagnostic tests into a computer instead of using any kind of handwritten form. Computerized orders are easier to read than handwriting, reducing the risk of misinterpretation. The system software can also deliver tips, reminders, best practices and automatic alerts about potentially harmful drug interactions or allergies.
- Bar Coding: Cooper’s eMAR (electronic medication administration record) system is an integrated software system that combines wireless technology with a hand-held bar code scanner. The system works like bar-code scanner systems in retail outlets and groceries stories. However, instead of products, patient medication doses are bar-coded and tracked as the medication travels back and forth among the pharmacy, nurses, physicians and patients.
- Smart Pumps: Intravenous medications are given through “smart pumps” to ensure that the correct dose is administered to the patient at the correct rate. Smart pumps have alerts that notify the nurse if the medication is being given too fast or too slow, or at the wrong concentration.
What you can do to help ensure medication safety
- Ensure that all of your health care providers know about everything that you are taking, including prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements, such as vitamins and herbs.
- Notify your doctors and nurses about any medication allergies or side effects you have experienced with medications.
- Ask your doctor why you need to take the medication that is prescribed for you.
Our experienced and highly skilled nursing staff is committed to providing high-quality, safe patient care. Nursing staff are active participants in several major safety initiatives. Two examples are reducing pressure ulcer prevalence and preventing patient falls.
Pressure Ulcer Prevention
Pressure ulcers are also called bedsores or decubitus ulcers. They can occur in patients who lie in bed or sit in chairs for long periods without moving. Patients who aren’t eating well, have problems with skin wetness (such as with loss of bowel or bladder control) or don’t feel pain from pressure are also at risk. Pressure, especially over a bone, can block blood flow. This can damage the skin as well as the tissue and muscle under the skin. Pressure ulcers can lead to pain, loss of function, infection and longer hospital stays.
What we are doing to prevent pressure ulcers
- Employing nurses who specialize in skin and wound care.
- Using evidence-based guidelines to prevent and treat pressure ulcers.
- Teaching nurses the best ways to prevent and treat pressure ulcers.
A patient fall is an unexpected fall to the floor or an extension of the floor (e.g., chair, bed) during a hospital stay. To avoid a more serious injury from occurring, staff members may lower a patient to the floor. Serious injuries such as hip fractures or bleeding into the brain can result from a fall. Falls may also result in a longer hospital stay and more difficult recovery.
What we are doing to prevent falls
- Performing a fall risk assessment for each patient.
- Making hourly rounds on inpatient units.
- Providing patients with no-slip socks.
- Conducting bedside reports.
What the patient can do to prevent falls
- If you are asked not to get up without assistance, please refrain from doing so. This is for your protection.
- If you are allowed to get out of bed and walk on your own without assistance, make sure there is a light on where you are and where you are going.
- Ask for help when using the bathroom, getting up or walking around the unit, especially if you are not feeling well.
- Wear non-skid socks or rubber-soled slippers or shoes when walking.
- Sit or stand up slowly. Sit on the side of the bed before standing and slowly stand up. Do not attempt to walk by yourself if you feel weak or unsteady on your feet.
You are an important member of your care team. We encourage you to become part of the team and to work with us. Here’s how you can help:
- Speak up if you have questions or concerns. If you still don’t understand, ask again. It’s your body and you have a right to know.
- Pay attention to the care you get. Always make sure you’re getting the right treatments and medicines by the right health care professionals. Don’t assume anything.
- Educate yourself about your illness. Learn about the medical tests you get, and your treatment plan.
- Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate (advisor or supporter).
- Know what medicines you take and why you take them. Medicine errors are the most common health care mistakes.
- Use a hospital, clinic, surgery center, or other type of health care organization that has been carefully checked out. For example, The Joint Commission visits hospitals to see if they are meeting The Joint Commission’s quality standards.
Participate in all decisions about your treatment. You are the center of the health care team.