When transferring patients from somewhere offsite to a hospital, there are a number of outside exposures to be aware of. From traffic to having to perform assistance on the road, transporting patients can be a hazardous assignment. But when nurses and doctors need to transport a patient within a hospital (known as intrahospital), a unique set of risks present themselves.
Transport-related risks for critically ill patients needing to be moved within a hospital for therapeutic procedures or diagnostics can be reduced by a mixture of increased awareness, education, staffing, proper handling equipment, and effective wholesale healthcare facilities insurance.
Here’s a look at some safety tips and education around intrahospital patient transport.
Creating a Safe Environment
A safe transport would be outlined by being able to operate without error with the potential for patient harm and by the absence of adverse events. Safe transport could also be defined by aiming to transport the patient from point A to point B while preserving the same condition along the way. From keeping equipment failure at bay to moving within the hospital without interruptions, creating a safe environment clear of alteration or obstruction should be priority one when handling patients.
For example, hospital staff should do what they can to make sure events such as loss of airway in a ventilated patient and exposure to altered environmental conditions (temperature, acceleration) are watched for and prevented.
Minimizing Transport-Associated Risks: Equipment Use
Maintenance and proper handling of equipment is an important factor in preventing critical events during the movement of patients. Equipment already in use in a patient should be utilized as much as possible for the transport process. While there are many ventilators available that can be used during transport, there are alternative transport ventilators that will provide similar modes.
When it comes to equipment placement during transport, unhindered access should be allowed to the patient, while at the same time patient safety should not be compromised in any way. This can be possible through an insecurely stowed monitor, ventilator, or perfusion pump. Calculations for unplanned delays should also be considered during a transport project and other scenarios, such as higher demand for oxygen in a patient.
Means of Transport
The choice of route during transport as well as means of transports depends on many different factors such as geographic circumstances and local structures. The patient’s status of urgency and stability is the main determining factor that hovers over all this. The fastest and most efficient route and means of transport won’t always be definite when it comes to providing the best risk-averse option for patients.
Watch for Wanderers
Wandering patients also pose a risk for hospitals when being transported to other parts of the facility. If a hospital has identified a patient as being at risk of wandering during this process, the staff needs to ensure there will be the right level of supervision of that patient throughout the entire transport window.
Wandering patients can end up causing damage to not only themselves but others around them and hospital equipment. Wandering patients face the risk of running into something, slipping and falling, or even leaving the hospital. These patients pose a risk for the facility itself by creating liabilities that can lead to lawsuits. Where healthcare industry insurance can help with legal fees in a case brought on by a wandering patient who was supposed to be supervised, there also needs to be the right amount of staffing and education around this very serious risk.
Much like the risk that wanderers post, falling is something that hospitals easily need to consider during intrahospital transports. Patients are likely to transfer from a bed to a wheelchair, then on to a table and back and forth during a number of trips.
The more transfers they have and the more trips that take place, the more risk rises when it comes to possible falls. The fall risk should be accurately communicated to staff who’s transporting patients as well as staff in the receiving department.
About Highland Risk Services
At Highland Risk, we use our expertise and experience to provide insurance information and programs to those who serve long-term care and senior living facilities. Since 2007, we’ve been offering insurance and risk management plans designed to help our agents give their clients the ability to achieve continued growth while simultaneously protecting against loss, containing costs and increasing profitability. With offices to serve you in Chicago, Illinois and Phoenix, Arizona, we do everything we can to make your experience with us as professional and transparent as possible. To learn more, contact us at (877) 890-9301.