New resources to improve patient safety in theatre

18 Sep 2014 | Safe Surgery NZ

The Health Quality & Safety Commission’s Reducing Perioperative Harm programme has two new videos to add to the growing list of resources focused on improving teamwork and communication. They are designed to help hospitals successfully introduce proven patient safety interventions into operating theatres.

The first video demonstrates a pre-list briefing and post-list debriefing session, designed to be used alongside the World Health Organization's surgical safety checklist.

The second video is the story of how Hutt Valley District Health Board introduced pre-list briefing and post-list debriefing as part of their goal of improving team work and communication.

Both videos were filmed at Hutt Hospital and include interviews with hospital staff and Commission Reducing Perioperative Harm Clinical Lead Mr Ian Civil, Commission Chair Prof Alan Merry and Perioperative Mortality Review Committee Chair Dr Leona Wilson.

Blood clots can kill

Preventing venous thromboembolism (VTE), or blood clots, is part of the Commission’s ongoing Reducing Perioperative Harm programme. The Open for better care campaign focus has been on promoting VTE risk assessment for all patients having surgery and using the findings to inform appropriate intervention.

The risk of VTE increases ten-fold in patients admitted to hospital, with contributing factors including general ill health, reduced mobility, smoking and poor fluid intake. Major surgical procedures are further risk factors (particularly orthopaedic and other high-risk surgeries). No patient is automatically excluded from risk of VTE, however, as patients who have had short or minor procedures have also developed fatal blood clots.

In August, the programme developed two posters to raise hospital staff awareness of the need for VTE assessment for all surgical patients. These posters are available on the Open for better care website and can be ordered for use in all clinical areas.

In the August edition of Medspeak, (the New Zealand Medical Association newsletter) Dr Don Mackie, Chief Medical Officer at the Ministry of Health discusses the risks posed to patients from VTE.

Dr Mackie recommends general practitioners refer their patients to Blood clots and you, a brochure developed by Southern Cross Hospitals with Commission funding. This is a useful resource for discussing VTE risk with patients and for patients to use when preparing for surgery. Blood clots and you and more detailed information for patients is available from the Southern Cross website.

Information for health professionals is available in the New Zealand VTE Prevention Steering Group’s National policy framework: VTE prevention in adult hospitalised patients in NZ.

Last updated 18/09/2014