Friday, March 25, 2011

Partnering with patients

VOICES OF PATIENTS AND FAMILIES: From left, Holden, Atamian, deBronkart and Meyer

“KRISTINA IS GREAT with patients, ensuring they are calm at the time of their operation, and she counts and recounts instruments, sponges, etc. to make sure everything is correct.”

“Lou responded to a ‘person down’ call outside the health care center and performed CPR on the patient who had no vital signs. When the ambulance arrived he still continued CPR and helped load him onto the stretcher. The man survived and his grateful family was able to say thank you to him.”

These are just two testimonials about two of the 47 MGH employees named MGH Patient Safety Stars during the second annual appreciation breakfast held March 8 in honor of National Patient Safety Awareness Week, March 6 through 12. The acknowledgement of Safety Stars – employees who pay exemplary attention to patient safety – was just one of the events held during the weeklong celebration.

“While the MGH community always keeps in mind providing excellent care to our patients every day, during Patient Safety Awareness Week we make a particular point of promoting patient safety and the important role the patient and the patient’s family have in his or her health and medical care,” says Gregg Meyer, MD, senior vice president for the MGH/MGPO Center for Quality and Safety.

To launch the week, a poster display in the White Lobby featured the “then and now” of patient safety at the MGH, highlighting historic milestones in patient care at the hospital and the evolution of patient-focused care. An information table provided passersby with helpful information about their critical role as members of their or their family members’ care team.

The highlight of the week took place with a March 9 presentation, “Listening to the Voices of Patients and Families,” in the O’Keeffe Auditorium. Guest speakers Seta Atamian, of the MassGeneral Hospital for Children Pediatric Patient and Family Advisory Committee, and Dave deBronkart – known as “e-Patient Dave,” a noted activist for participatory medicine – shared their experiences navigating the health care spectrum.

“The MGH has a long history of caring for its patients and truly listening to the voices of our patients and their families,” says Lela Holden, PhD, RN, patient safety officer for the MGH/MGPO Center for Quality and Safety. “During our bicentennial year, we thought it was fitting for this important week – which really lasts all year round – to pay tribute to this legacy of involvement with our patients and their loved ones. We look forward to the future and are excited to continue this important tradition of quality care.”

For more information about patient safety at the MGH, contact Holden at

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