MassGeneral Hospital for Children News

MGH Hotline 10.02.09 Encouraging the active participation of patients in their own health care is an important component of patient safety.

MGHfC encourages everyone to "Speak Up"

02/Oct/2009

Making the rounds: From left, Kelleher, Solemina and Israel

Encouraging the active participation of patients in their own health care is an important component of patient safety. This year, as part of an effort to promote patients' and their families' involvement, MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) joined the "Speak Up" program, an award-winning initiative developed by the Joint Commission together with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to encourage patients to take a role in preventing health care errors by becoming active, involved and informed participants of their health care team.

The MGHfC Speak Up program is led by a multidisciplinary committee of caregivers, quality and safety administrators, and members of the Family Advisory Council. Their goals include engaging staff, patients and families in quality and safety initiatives and developing practical strategies to address quality and safety concerns. The group conducts weekly inpatient rounds, speaking with the parents of pediatric patients about their child's care experience. All information is logged, and items requiring follow-up are acted upon immediately.

To date, the members of the Speak Up program have captured descriptive, quantitative and qualitative information from the rounds. They have spoken to more than 50 families and 25 staff members, gathering valuable feedback to improve care and safety.

"The Speak Up program is part of an overall hospitalwide effort at MGHfC to support a culture of staff partnering with patients and parents to ensure safe, high quality and efficient care in a family-centered way," says Esther Israel, MD, MGHfC Inpatient Quality and Safety director, who co-leads the program.

Adds Mary Lou Kelleher, RN, MS, pediatric nurse specialist and co-leader, "It's always nice to hear that we are doing a good job, and families share this readily. However, we feel our efforts are most successful when the family has a constructive suggestion to improve care and we can take immediate steps to make it happen."

For more information about the Speak Up program, contact Kristen E. Solemina, MPH, MGHfC Quality and Safety manager, at 617-726-0295.

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