Safety checklists– this is something that we have used sporadically I think in many places off and on they come and go. We use these checklists and then they seem to fall by the waist side. However, a recent study and coming out of Johns Hopkins University, hospital in couple—in tandem with a series of hospitals in Michigan and Rhode Island have rally found a ground-breaking effect of using these types of safety-based checklists along with a culture of being able to speak out against safety violations and to encourage change and to encourage people to help each other be more aware of safety, all had a significant impact on not just infection control but on saving lives. Now, it would follow that if we can reduce infections, we would keep patients alive but that’s not necessarily always the case. Perhaps patients were dying of co-morbid factors.

So, the study that was initially shown to have virtually eliminated central line infections because of the use of a safety checklist dealing with central line infection placement and management with physicians, nurses, and other care providers has now been reexamined and that study has looked at ultimate outcome. How many of these patients died? They indeed found by virtually eliminating central line infections in ICU environments, it had the effect of saving 10% more patients lives. That’s a significant event. In fact, the study in the article here has said that thousands of people are alive today because of this simple safety checklist process and the culture change that goes along with it. That’s why I said earlier that when I started out this discussion on checklists was we see checklists come and go and they come for a while and they just don’t stick around. Because unless you change the underlying culture behind whatever’s been going on before, then really not going to be any buy in for the checklist. We need to have that buy in in order to encourage the staff to really understand why their doing this checklist. We have to educate them about the science of safety, about the different aspects that the checklist focuses on, the studies and the research behind it so they say hey, this isn’t just a random application of somebody’s great idea. This is science and research based knowledge being applied back to improving patient outcomes and so I urge you to check this article out. It’s pretty significant and especially if you’re an infusion care, ICU nurse or really any aspect of the hospital setting. I think this type of checklist can lend itself to many aspects of nursing care especially when we think about the numbers of hospital based infections. We talked about this a couple of weeks ago on the show when we discussed health care acquired infections. The numbers of hospital based infections that reach our patients. Anything we can do to reduce, and according to this, virtually eliminate them from a specific source of infection is pretty amazing.


This article has been featured in the news segment of the Nursing Show podcast episode Stroke Prevention and Awareness Part 2 and Episode 165

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