MHAFB Celebrates National Patient Safety Awareness Week

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- This is part five of a five-part series on patient safety.

Remaining true to the Air Force's history of excellence, the 366th Medical Group has made a habit of finding innovative and inspiring ways to improve health care at all levels.

This is the eighth consecutive year the MDG has participated in the National Patient Safety Foundation's Annual Educational and Awareness Campaign for Healthcare Safety. The 2013 Patient Safety Awareness Week theme was "Patient Safety 7 days of recognition, 365 days of commitment to safe care".

"Patient Safety Awareness Week has grown to be an international opportunity to recognize patient safety efforts and provide educational resources," said Marcia Vondran Lutz, 366 MDG Patient Safety Manager. "Our goal is to highlight safety activities throughout the building by involving the patients, the community, and the staff using innovative methods."

The week's primary attractions for patients were a simulator training demonstration, a safety quilt displayed at the entrance of the hospital, and educational displays. Also, staff activities included the identification of numerous safety hazards in the Dental Clinic's and Family Care Unit's "Simulation Hazard Room."

"I think one of the biggest things we're doing this week is a demonstration of our emergency simulator to help our patients understand we do a lot of extra training in the facility, to make sure everyone is ready for any emergency," said Maj. Kevin Skaggs, 366th MDG Director of Education Training. "It's not only important the patients know we're practicing safe medical care, but it's important to remind the staff that patient safety is our number one priority."

This advanced simulator is a life-like mannequin capable of enacting a variety of medical emergencies.

"Our simulation man will function totally as a human, capable of blinking, breathing, crying, sweating and even talking," explained Skaggs. "Just like a pilot would use a flight simulator, this is what we use in the facility to make sure we stay sharp."

In addition to the simulator demonstration, there is a quilt on display commemorating patient safety, put together by various areas within the hospital.

"The quilt was an opportunity for different sections within the hospital to get information out to the patients in a creative way," said Vondran Lutz. "We wanted to help send a visual message through the quilt squares to help people understand what we do."

In honor of the week, the Dental Clinic has created an interactive opportunity for medical staff to better understand safe practices, creating a "Room of Doom" with 22 potential hazards on display.

"Any staff member can come in and should be able to point out the various safety discrepancies," said TSgt. Christina Harper, 366th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Dental Technician. "This is important for people working in the building to see, because we want to make sure everyone who works here is keeping patient safety a priority."

The week serves as a testament to the seriousness the 366th MDG personnel place in keeping their patients safe.

"Our patients trust us, and that's a very precious thing. We want to provide the safest care we can," said Vondran Lutz. "We believe patient safety is one of our core values."

Col. Sarady Tan, 366th MDG commander agrees safety is a high priority.

"We're in the business of healing and promoting health, but sometime complications arise and by making patient safety a priority, in our hospital, we hope to eliminate or reduce preventable injuries to our beneficiaries," said Tan. "We want to translate patient safety into combat air power by minimizing the impact preventable medical care errors have on the Air Force's most important resource...its human weapons system!"