June 15, 2012
NVRH’s efforts in the areas of employee and patient safety have earned a very significant award from the most credible authority one could find – the insurance company that insures us. On April 25 the MEMIC insurance company notified us that the company had selected NVRH as one of six facilities (out of their 19,000 clients) that have demonstrated a consistent and all encompassing commitment to safety. Representatives of the Lift Free Environment Team will travel to Portland, ME on June 11 to accept the award.
Of particular importance in being selected to receive the award is the hospital’s strong and sustained commitment of the Lift Free Environment Team and the hospital’s commitment to creating a “lift free environment.” This group, led by Barb Byrne, RN, Clinical Nurse Supervisor and Nurse Educator, has evaluated hazards associated with patient repositioning and moving patients. The team has studied and evaluated numerous pieces of equipment over a period of more than five years. The team has had representatives from the various clinical areas and had heightened awareness of safe techniques and devices for handling of patients. That safety is two-fold: safety for the nurse or other health care worker and safety for the patient.
One measure of the hospital’s commitment to the culture of safety is the simple fact that the effort has been a sustained effort and has involved a great many employees. Some employees have found that they were unable to continue as team members, but others have joined and are helping to bring issues forward. In addition, we have invested more than $160,000 in equipment to prevent back and upper body injuries over the course of five years.
Vice-president of Professional Services, Veronica Hychalk reflected on the accomplishments of the Lift Free Environment team, “I am very proud of the team and especially the leadership provided by Barb Byrne.” She also applauded “all the work in seeking out vendors and trialing equipment. We have a great start but more work to do.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Barb Byrne who stated that she is proud of the work that the team has accomplished but feels there is still much work to be done. She went on to say, “We are just beginning to change the culture that surrounds safe patient handling.”