Patients are exposed to a lot of risks either at home or in the hospital environments which may exaggerate the condition they are suffering from (Cozens, 2001). This also affects the duration they will take before they recover. As a result, the hospital stay of the patient increases, making them less productive they are for the duration they are in the hospital and the expenses of a hospital stay increasing. It is thus very important to look into patient safety practices and understand how the various risks in health care facilities can be reduced. This paper is concerned about the safety of patients both in the hospital and outside the environments of hospitals. It is a paper that wants to establish the various ways of improving the safety of the patients. This is by the minimization of the risks that the patients are exposed to and thus making them more likely to get certain injuries or problems in the process of being treated or recovering from the disease they are suffering from (Leape, et al, 1998, pp. 1446).
Factors affecting patient safety
A key factor that affects patient safety especially in the hospital is the working hours of the medical personnel. Recently, there has been an increase in the workload, but without an increase in the staff. This has reduced the number of people who are supposed to be taken care of by a single health worker. For example, currently, some nurses are supposed to work more than twelve hours per day. While this is not acceptable in the labor laws, there is a risk of the nurses making errors that may cost the patient’s life. The long working hours of the nurses and other medical personnel leads to fatigue and thus less concentration (Leape, et al, 1998, pp. 1446). This makes them not to be keen on the management of the patients (DeRosier, et al. 2002).
The long working hours can have a lot of effects on the outcome of the patients. When a nurse is very exhausted, he or she is likely to forget to give medications to the patient (Rogers, et al., 2004, pp. 2006). He may also give the wrong medications to some patients which may result in adverse reactions in addition to failure to treat the condition of the patient. There have been cases where surgeons make a lot of mistakes because of the long working hours which may even cost the patient his or her life. Thus, the long working hours have a lot of effects on the recovery of the patients and it can be a very important area of consideration in the safety of the patients (Rogers, et al., 2004, pp. 2006).
Long working hours among the medical personnel people may lead to extra costs to the hospital. When a doctor or a nurse makes a mistake because he or she is exhausted, the patient can sue the hospital. This can result in a lot of claims which the hospital is supposed to pay making the hospital incur a lot of expenses. These expenses would not have been incurred if there were sufficient health personnel who will work without exceeding the working hours and risking making mistakes. In some cases, the problem is with the health care providers. Some of them will choose to work for long hours deliberately to get more income. This will result in fatigue and less concentration at work (Rogers, et al., 2004, pp. 2006). Although the working hours have been mentioned adversely in the safety of patients, there has not been good research to establish the extent of this problem.
Team working is essential in patient safety. The proper management of the patient is dependent on the ability of the healthcare providers to cooperate with one another. The management of a patient is usually the responsibility of the medical team. If the team does not work as a team, then the patient will not be managed properly. Team working ensures that all the patients get all they need in their management. The failure by one of the members of the team involved in the management of the patient to carry out his or her duties may easily lead to mismanagement of the patient and thus result in compromise to the security of the patient.
Team working in the management of the patients ensures that the patients receive the best services. This is because the team is composed of a large number of professionals who will are specialized in different professions which are involved in the management of the patient. Thus, one professional is not qualified enough to ensure that the safety of the patient is maintained. For example, a nurse is very important in carrying out the instructions of the doctor and monitoring the patient for any complications. The doctor sees how the patient is doing and makes a decision on what next. These are just two examples of the many members of the team which manages the patients. Therefore, teamwork is important in the management of the patients.
Aim of the research and justification
This research aims at establishing what the extent of the problem is with a view of reducing the errors as a result of long working hours. There is very little research to establish the incidence of the errors as a result of long working hours. This research will establish how the problem is and what can be done to eliminate these risks. It will help the health institution in the reduction of the legal expenses because of expenses incurred as a result of the long working hours. It will also reduce the risk of patients not receiving their treatment properly because of the increased working hours of the health care providers and thus more likely to make a mistake (Rogers, et al., 2004, pp. 2006).
The research question in this study will be as follows: Does team working and communication improve the safety of the patients in the hospital? In attempting to answer this question, the research will attempt to identify the articles which are relevant to a team working and patient safety. This research proposal aims to evaluate the effectiveness of team working. It will also evaluate the various aspects of team working which can affect the safety of the patients. In the literature, there has not been enough information about the various aspects of patient safety which is affected by teamwork. This research will attempt to establish such.
I propose to appraise patient safety practices through naturally occurring quasi-experiments, with intervention and control groups studied over several periods. The intervention cluster will be patients whose information was maintained in the hospital records. The control group will comprise the remaining patients, risk-adjusted for baseline disparities between the control and investigational groups.
An interview guide will also be developed. Semi-structured interviews will follow the Interview. Questions will allow discussions of broad observations on the background and definitions of patient safety in addition to specific personal scope and research agenda. While the interview tool will be reviewed at length, time may not permit a pilot test. Staff from selected government and private organizations will be contacted to identify one or more suitable representatives for an interview. Telephone interviews will be conducted. The interviews will be recorded and word for word transcripts prepared (Leape, et al, 1998).
Analysis of data will be done by performing probabilistic causal analysis. Transcript interview data will be analyzed by thematic groups that surface from replies to each interview question. The themes will be grouped into bigger entities providing the core content for the ultimate analysis. Review of the report for content and a critique of the recommendations to identify gaps in presently performed research and categorize the nature of research that will be valuable to fill those gaps (Leape, et al, 1998). A lot of feedback will be incorporated into the report, excluding direct quotes from reviewers.
Cozens, J., 2001. Cultures for improving patient safety through learning: the role of teamwork. Qual Health Care; 10:ii26-ii31.
DeRosier, J, et al. 2002. Using Health Care Failure Mode and Effect Analysis: The VA National Center for Patient Safety’s Prospective Risk Analysis System. Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, 28, (5): 248-267.
Leape, L., et al, 1998. Promoting Patient Safety by Preventing Medical Error. JAMA, 280(16), pp. 1444-1447.
Rogers, A. et al 2004. The Working Hours of Hospital Staff Nurses and Patient Safety. Health Affairs, 23, (4) pp. 202-212.