March 17, 2020

Respiratory CUSP turns two

The Respiratory CUSP (Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program) turned two last week.

Dr Katharine See, Director of Respiratory Medicine, explained the purpose of the CUSP is to empower every single person who works on the ward, from the head of department to all of nursing, medical, allied health, administrative and support service staff to raise a hand and contribute to improving quality and safety on the ward.

“During these two years, there have been numerous improvements on the ward, with over 50 initiatives. For example, our junior medical staff designed a new form. New rules and regulations around how much oxygen is required to be in the cylinder before the patient can safely be transported to radiology and implementing that hospital-wide is just something that came out of CUSP meetings,” she said.

Dr See explained how the team also implemented the use of hand-held fans for patients with breathlessness on the ward, with patients provided with education on how to optimally use the fan.

“The reason why this is so important is that the drug treatment for this condition would be morphine, which increases their risk of falls. The team has also established a dedicated pleural procedure room, a sterile space for procedures,” she said.

Other improvements include making sure two nurses check blood gas results, at handovers, which enables staff to detect deterioration earlier for patients with respiratory failure.

“It can be little changes in process, or it can be major redevelopments, that is the beauty of the CUSP. All these smaller things put together are just as important as the big thing,” she said.

Dr See advocates for putting the responsibility on the CUSP, empowering staff to bring safety concerns to light. The CUSP is an opportunity for every single member of the team not only to identify concerns, but also to identify ways to improve our current systems and processes.

“When we first started, everyone felt this was another meeting that they need to attend, but after two years, there is no complaining when staff come to the CUSP meeting, as they bring all these amazing ideas on how they can improve things. It’s improved our safety culture and brought our team together,” she added.

Dr See sees the CUSP as her favourite meeting of the month.

“We are now being proactive at looking at our systems and ways to improve. Around 30-40 people attend every meeting and are still coming every month,” she added.

Next month, Dr See and Clare McCarthy, Project Manager, were scheduled to take the CUSP to Copenhagen, Denmark to share the ‘Northern’ experience at the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare.

“It will be a fabulous opportunity to represent Northern Health and share our CUSP endeavours with an international audience. The Forum has been postponed in view of the spread of COVID-19 with a new date pending late 2020,” said Clare.