January 9, 2019

Respiratory CUSP improving patient safety

In our pursuit of our ‘High Reliability – Trusted Care’ transformation, Northern Health has established a series of programs, meetings and groups, focussing on patient safety, improvements and moving towards zero preventable harm.

The Comprehensive Unit-Based Safety Program (CUSP) aims to improve the culture of safety, while providing frontline caregivers with the tools and support they need to identify and tackle the hazards that threaten their patients at a unit or clinic level. The CUSP is a cornerstone in High Reliability Organisations (HRO) in healthcare.

Developed by Johns Hopkins University safety and quality researchers, the five-step program has been used to target a wide range of hazards, including patient falls, hospital-acquired infections, medication administration errors, specimen labelling errors and teamwork and communication breakdowns.

Northern Health currently has two CUSPs – Unit B/Med 3 chaired by Dr Yana Sunderland, which is six months old and Respiratory CUSP.

The first Respiratory CUSP took place 14 months ago, and since then, the team has held monthly meetings.

The CUSP, chaired by Dr Katharine See, Head of Respiratory Medicine, is an opportunity for all staff to be briefed, be part of the team and actively participate in initiatives to improve patient care.

“In the previous year, we’ve completed more than twelve projects and they can be things as simple as developing a form, or completely redesigning a procedure room,” Dr See said.

“It’s inclusive of all staff – from allied health to nursing, medical and cleaning, and it’s a good opportunity for everyone to speak up about safety concerns on the unit,” said Maureen Goodwin, Respiratory Clinical Nurse Consultant.

Amy Wilson, T2 Ward Clerk, feels it’s important for everyone to participate.

“I just find it interesting, as I am not part of the clinical staff, but from an administration point of view it’s interesting as we are learning new things,” she said.

Clare McCarthy, Project Manager, said this is an amazing collective of our staff coming together each month to focus on safety.

“This is where you experience our HRO transformation first-hand. The principles of HRO are played out here, like being alert to risk and avoiding simplistic interpretations,” she said.

To hear more about Respiratory CUSP achievements and goals, check out the video below: