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WellSpan hospitals receive APEX awards

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Hospitals demonstrated extraordinary levels of patient safety and quality

WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital and Ephtata Community HospitalWellSpan Gettysburg Hospital and Ephrata Community Hospital were recently recognized by a national organization for their ongoing efforts in demonstrating excellence in patient safety and quality.

WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital received five 2013 VHA Achieving Patient Care Excellence (APEX) awards, while Ephrata Community Hospital received two.

The hospitals demonstrated extraordinary levels of patient safety and clinical performance, based on 2013 clinical measures defined by the VHA Mid-Atlantic Performance Improvement Council.

WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital was recognized for its performance in core measures, ventilator-associated pneumonia, pressure ulcers prevention, venous thromboembolism (VTE) prevention and patient falls prevention.

“We’re proud of our success with each program,” offered Cheryl Hale, director of PI and patient safety officer, WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital.

Hale said she was proudest that WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital went 14 weeks without a patient fall on an inpatient unit, except for one intentional fall.

“There’s been a great focus on training staff members in setting and resetting bed alarms,” she said. “We also have received frequent feedback on the causes of falls from our fall huddles."

Bed alarms can be set at various sensitivities, depending on the patient’s fall risk.

“The multiple APEX awards are a result of our efforts to standardize processes and implement best practices,” added Hale.

Ephrata Community Hospital was recognized for its performance in surgical site infection (SSI) prevention and venous thromboembolism (VTE) prevention.

“Our staff members embrace evidence-based practices,” said Susan Shollenberger, assistant vice president, quality and compliance, Ephrata Community Hospital.  “We want to do what’s best for patients, and these results are very encouraging.”

Shollenberger cited the orthopedic best practices committee, pre-surgery classes and a commitment to make sure all patients receive the necessary educational materials as key factors in surgical site infection prevention.

Education of nurses and physicians, as well as improved order sets, enhanced VTE prevention, according to Shollenberger.

Mark Tino, vice president, performance improvement for VHA Pennsylvania, said the APEX awards validate hospitals’ continued commitment to improving clinical quality and patient care.

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