Engaging Patients for Patients’ Safety: Tips for Healthcare Workers

Engaging Patients for Patients’ Safety: Tips for Healthcare Workers

All over the world, patient safety is a top priority in healthcare. The goal of World Patient Safety Day is to raise awareness and reduce patient harm. This year’s theme is “Engaging Patients for Patients’ Safety.” It is crucial for healthcare workers to receive cooperation from patients in order to ensure their safety and well-being during their medical journey.

Understanding Vulnerability and Patient Protection Policies

All patients, regardless of age, gender, or illness, are vulnerable. Patient vulnerability refers to their susceptibility to being harmed or injured. To reduce the possibility of patient harm, healthcare settings implement patient protection policies. These policies aim to prevent harm through measures such as accurate diagnoses, appropriate prescriptions, and maintaining professional boundaries.

Engaging Patients for Patient Safety

Patient-practitioner engagement plays a crucial role in ensuring patient safety. By engaging patients in their healthcare journey, healthcare workers can foster a safe and effective treatment process. Maximizing patient engagement involves addressing barriers that may hinder patients from effectively participating in their healthcare. This includes ensuring accessible healthcare appointments, clear communication, non-judgmental attitudes, and empathetic and respectful healthcare service delivery.

Gaps for Improvement

Effective communication between patients and medical practitioners is essential. Patients must be encouraged to share necessary information truthfully, as withholding information can compromise treatment plans. Additionally, there may be issues surrounding secrecy and deception, where patients may hide crucial medical conditions or exposures that could impact their healthcare. Superstitions and misunderstandings about diseases can also pose challenges in delivering timely care.

Safeguarding Children

Parents and guardians play a vital role in protecting the health and well-being of children. Timely and responsible engagement with health services is crucial for supporting children’s health and development. Neglecting to consistently bring children for planned healthcare or reviews can lead to worsening health. Healthcare workers can encourage parents to engage with health services to protect and promote their children’s health.

Technology and Risks

The advancements in technology have greatly improved the healthcare sector. However, patients relying solely on the internet for their diagnoses can pose risks to their safety. Patients arriving at healthcare facilities with preconceived diagnoses hinder proper medical evaluations. Healthcare professionals should emphasize the importance of accurate diagnoses rather than relying solely on internet information or traditional explanations.

Competence for Safety

Patient safety encompasses various aspects, including physical, psychological, social, emotional, and environmental safety. Healthcare workers are trained to provide holistic care in these domains. While there may be a shortage of healthcare workers, the dedicated few deliver standardized and humane services. Licensing and disciplinary bodies, such as the Tanzania Nurses Association (TANNA), Tanzania Nurses and Midwifery Council (TNMC), and the Medical Council of Tanzania (MCT), oversee practice cadres to ensure competence, registration, and adherence to healthcare ethics.

Medical Ethics

Ethical competence in healthcare is based on principles such as autonomy, beneficence, confidentiality, privacy, and non-maleficence. Adhering to these principles ensures patient safety. While there may be occasional complaints, healthcare providers in Tanzania strive to uphold key healthcare ethics for the benefit and safety of patients.

– Harvard Medical School: ‘Seeing our patients’ vulnerability and our own’
– Additional conversations with medical practitioners and public health experts.

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