Encouraging patients and their families to take an active role in their health care by becoming involved and informed is critical. In celebration of Patient Safety Awareness Week, March 4-10, a unique patient safety education program will be released to provide patients and their families with instant access to current patient safety videos at their bedside and while receiving care. The 2012 SAFE CARE Patient Safety Education Program is a free offering developed to assist health care organizations in educating patients to help prevent medical errors.

The campaign features videos from The Joint Commission’s Speak Up™ campaign, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Kimberly-Clark, The Patient Channel® from The Wellness Network, and Safe Care Campaign. The goal of the SAFE CARE Patient Safety Education Program is to save lives, prevent harm and help patients receive safer care.

The SAFE CARE Program utilizes free posters that hospitals can hang in patient rooms which allows patients and families to instantly access and watch safety videos by topic on their own smart phones by simply pointing a smart phone at a QR code on the poster, or texting the word “SAFE” to 411247 to receive a link to Safe Care’s safety video library. The nine short videos address the most common patient safety issues in hospitals such as hand hygiene, preventing infections, avoiding medication errors, patient falls, and more. Organizations are also able to customize the videos for a nominal fee.

“We are making important safety information available to patients and their families 24/7 with no training or time obligation whatsoever from the hospital care staff,” says Victoria Nahum, executive director, SAFE CARE Campaign. “These videos show how to receive the safest care possible and we put it right into the hands of the patients and their families’ right when they need it most — while they’re at the bedside.”

“We know that the more patients are involved in their care the less likely there will be a bad outcome such as a medication mix-up or a health care-associated infection,” says Cathy Barry-Ipema, chief communications officer, The Joint Commission. “This campaign gives patients the information they need to speak up and be active participants in their health care.”

Statements from campaign participants:
Being informed by asking the right questions, gathering information and gleaning knowledge is one of the most powerful ways for patients and caregivers to join with medical professionals to ensure safe and effective outcomes. As part of patient safety, we believe that infection prevention is everyone’s responsibility, so we are supporting the Safe Care Patient Safety Education Program designed to educate patients, caregivers and visitors about what to address when preparing for or receiving medical care. Kimberly-Clark has long been committed to providing the essentials that restore patients from crisis to better health and improve the quality of their lives. Our participation in this important initiative is yet another way in which we hope to reach consumers with potentially life-saving information and to further support medical professionals in helping them prevent the spread of healthcare-associated infections.

– Joanne Bauer, president, Kimberly-Clark Health Care

The Wellness Network, parent company of The Patient Channel and The Newborn Channel, has proudly worked with the Safe Care Campaign and The Joint Commission to promote patient safety in hospitals since 2007. We create safety videos which help hospitals foster a culture of patient safety by airing continuously on both The Patient Channel and The Newborn Channel in over 2,300 hospitals. The safety messaging is reinforced in patient handouts we provide to hospitals. We are thrilled to leverage new technologies to help hospitals extend the reach of these important messages to patients before, during and after their hospital stay.

– Dave Ross, COO, The Wellness Network

Patients have a right to know that they are receiving safe care. We hope that educational materials, like these, will empower patients to start a discussion with their healthcare provider about what can be done to prevent infections during their medical care.

– Arjun Srinivasan, M.D., associate director of Healthcare-Associated Infection Prevention Programs, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including more than 10,300 hospitals and home care organizations, and more than 6,500 other health care organizations that provide long term care, behavioral health care, laboratory and ambulatory care services. The Joint Commission currently certifies more than 2,000 disease-specific care programs, focused on the care of patients with chronic illnesses such as stroke, joint replacement, stroke rehabilitation, heart failure and many others. The Joint Commission also provides health care staffing services certification for more than 750 staffing offices. An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at www.jointcommission.org.