Top End Health Service committed to patient safety

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With the inaugural World Patient Safety Day on Tuesday 17 September 2019, Top End Health Service is deeply committed to patient safety.

TEHS Co-Director (Nursing) – Division of Women, Children & Youth Maureen Brittin said an escalation system for patients and their families to raise concerns about their own, or a family member’s care, had been rolled out across all Top End hospitals over the past year.

“The escalation system titled ‘REACT’ encourages patients, carers and families to escalate their concerns and receive immediate feedback if they notice something is ‘not right’.”

The initiative has been rolled out at Royal Darwin Hospital, Palmerston Regional Hospital as well as Katherine and Gove hospitals.

The REACT system encourages patients, carers and families to follow a simple two-step process:

  1. Raise concerns with a staff member or an Aboriginal Liaison Officer
  2. If you see no change in care provided or are not satisfied with the response, then call, or ask someone to call the REACT number on 1800 290 888.

The call is answered by a nursing staff member who will engage with the medical team on the caller’s behalf and task a senior team member to review the case immediately.

Posters and brochures have been distributed across the hospitals and patients are advised of the new system upon admission.

“The REACT system enables patients and families to escalate concerns about their own care or the person they care for. It aims to empower patients and families to engage with staff if they notice ‘something is not right’ and to call for help if they are concerned.

“Engaging patients and families in patient care helps empower them to work in collaboration with health care providers to put the patient first. It also conveys to patients and families the important message that they are valued as partners in improving safety and quality.”

The REACT Program aligns with other programs in hospitals around the world to empower patient and their families while in hospital to work in collaboration with their health care team.

“While the use of observation charts to recognise and respond to clinical deterioration is effective, partnering with patients and families as ‘care team members’ (i.e. the people who know the patient best) to alert staff to patient deterioration provides an additional safety net.”

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