Combs CA, Einerson BD, Toner LE. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2021;225:b43-b49.
Maternal and newborn safety is challenged during cesarean delivery due to the complexities of the practice. This guideline recommends specific checklist elements to direct coordination and communication between the two teams engaged in cesarean deliveries. The guideline provides a sample checklist and steps for its implementation.
Bickham P, Golembiewski J, Meyer T, et al. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2019;76:903-820.
Pharmacists working with surgical teams bring distinct safety context, expertise, and process awareness to perioperative care. These guidelines outline how pharmacists can help reduce medication errors before, during, and after surgery. Perioperative pharmacists can enhance communication, medication histories, and process reliability.
Potential deterioration of older surgeons' technical performance is a patient safety concern. This guidance developed from a Society of Surgical Chairs panel discussion puts forth several steps to manage the transition of aging surgeons. Recommendations include mandatory cognitive and psychomotor testing for surgeons age 65 and older, respectful consideration of the financial and emotional concerns of aging surgeons, and lifelong mentoring around the transition from clinical to nonclinical roles. The authors anticipate that such initiatives will prompt thoughtful support for aging surgeons that ensures patient safety. In an accompanying editorial, an older physician supports mandatory testing and suggests individual-level steps to address aging as a surgeon, including healthy lifestyle and financial habits.
Categorizing human error as a criminal act can deter reporting required to learn from incidents and improve practice. This position statement articulates the importance of avoiding this approach for unintentional perioperative nursing errors to ensure the open communication needed to support the safety of clinicians, organizations, and patients.
Ban KA, Minei JP, Laronga C, et al. J Am Coll Surg. 2017;224:59-74.
Surgical site infections are a persistent and costly challenge to patient safety. These guidelines provide recommendations to reduce this common hospital-acquired condition, including policies for surgeon attire, hand hygiene, and equipment sterilization.
This statement briefly lists the American College of Surgeons' guidelines for preventing retention of sponges, sharps, instruments, and other items after surgery. The statement was revised in October 2016.
Retained surgical items are considered a sentinel event in perioperative care. This guideline suggests strategies such as improving team communication, standardizing protocols for surgical counts, and limiting distractions to address this persisting problem.
Sentinel event alerts are issued periodically by The Joint Commission to identify common or emerging patient safety problems and provide organizations with approaches for addressing these issues. A retained foreign object (RFO)—surgical materials or equipment unintentionally left in a patient's body after completing the operation—is a never event that can have serious clinical consequences. Despite being long recognized as a critical—and preventable—error, RFOs continue to occur, with nearly 800 cases being reported to The Joint Commission between 2005 and 2012. This alert makes several recommendations to help prevent RFOs, including focusing on enhancing the reliability of the traditional manual count of instruments and materials used during a procedure, improving safety culture in the operating room through interventions (e.g., teamwork training), and investigating technological approaches (e.g., bar coding of surgical sponges) to ease identification of potentially missing objects before patients are harmed.
Wahr JA, Prager RL, Abernathy JH, et al. Circulation. 2013;128:1139-1169.
This scientific statement from the American Heart Association (AHA) reviews the current state of knowledge on safety issues in the operating room (OR) and provides detailed recommendations for hospitals to implement to improve safety and patient outcomes. These recommendations include using checklists and formal handoff protocols for every procedure, teamwork training and other approaches to enhance safety culture, applying human factors engineering principles to optimize OR design and minimize fatigue, and taking steps to discourage disruptive behavior by clinicians. AHA scientific statements, which are considered the standard of care for cardiac patients, have traditionally focused on clinical issues, but this article (and an earlier statement on medication error prevention) illustrates the critical importance of ensuring safety in this complex group of patients.
Chow WB, Rosenthal RA, Merkow RP, et al. J Am Coll Surg. 2012;215:453-66.
This guideline describes recommendations for preoperative assessment of elderly surgical patients, including risk factors for postoperative delirium and pulmonary complications, to enhance safety and reduce readmissions.
Improvement AC of O and GCC on PS and Q. Obstet Gynecol. 2009;114:1424-7.
In this piece, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists emphasizes principles and objectives for patient safety in obstetrics and gynecology practices. The guidelines include encouraging a safety culture, reducing surgical errors, improving communication with patients and providers, and prioritizing safety.
This guidance statement outlines recommendations from the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) for developing, implementing, and evaluating safe medication practices in the perioperative environment.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Hearing before the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. 109 Congress, 2nd sess June 15, 2006. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office; 2007.
These testimonies addressed issues within the Veterans Affairs health system that contributed to recent sterilization and labeling lapses.
JCAHO; Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
According to an AHRQ-supported study, wrong-site surgery occurred at a rate of approximately 1 per 113,000 operations between 1985 and 2004. In July 2004, The Joint Commission enacted a Universal Protocol that was developed through expert consensus on principles and steps for preventing wrong-site, wrong-procedure, and wrong-person surgery. The Universal Protocol applies to all accredited hospitals, ambulatory care, and office-based surgery facilities. The protocol requires performing a time out prior to beginning surgery, a practice that has been shown to improve teamwork and decrease the overall risk of wrong-site surgery. This Web site includes a number of resources and facts related to the Universal Protocol. Wrong-site, wrong-procedure, and wrong-patient errors are all now considered never events by the National Quality Forum and sentinel events by The Joint Commission. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have not reimbursed for any costs associated with these surgical errors since 2009.
This revision of the 2006 committee statement provides a series of recommendations responding to issues that contribute to errors within the operative theater and highlights checklists as one approach to improvement.
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