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Patient and family resources
Patient and family resources

Caring Safely

Caring safely logo

Caring Safely is an ambitious patient and staff safety initiative that will have significant impact in making care better and safer across the hospital and also make SickKids an even safer place to work.

SickKids is a leading children’s hospital both within Canada and internationally with a strong track record in patient safety, but there is always more we can do to improve. Despite our best efforts, intentions, and the excellent error prevention strategies we have implemented, preventable harm still occurs.

SickKids led a national study confirming the issue of preventable harm is just as much a problem in paediatrics as had been shown elsewhere.1 Across Canada, 3 to 4 per cent of children admitted to hospital suffer significant preventable harm. This tells us we have to do more than ever before, so we identified safety as a key priority in our 2015-2020 strategic plan Building Connections, Accelerating Impact.

SickKids is responding with renewed commitment to reducing preventable harm, setting ambitious targets for the reduction of hospital acquired conditions and serious safety events while enhancing safety culture and improving staff safety. We want to do more for patient safety, and we want to do it faster.

With renewed commitment comes a new strategy. One of the ways we are doing things differently is by training all staff, including non-clinical, in safety behaviours and error prevention strategies. Managers and directors will be educated in leadership methods to support safety.

Another way we are refreshing our approach is by partnering with Children’s Hospitals Solutions for Patient Safety, a network of over 90 leading paediatric hospitals. We are able to learn from organizations that are working towards the same goal, some of whom are further along in their safety journeys. Their successes add to our confidence in our ability to achieve these goals.

There are four key objectives of Caring Safely:

1. Reduce the incidence of the seven Hospital Acquired Conditions (HACs) significantly by the end of 2017/18.

What we’re doing: implementing evidence-based prevention bundles which encompass multiple factors that contribute to these conditions. For example, it has been shown that the incidence of patient falls can be reduced if patients are: screened for risk of fall; identified as high risk for falls using signage and at handoff; ensured to be in a safe environment; educated in falls prevention techniques (including families).

2. Reduce the incidence of Serious Safety Events (SSEs) by two-thirds by the end of 2017/18.

What we’re doing: A serious safety event is an event where care has deviated from a generally accepted practice standard and results in significant preventable harm. SickKids is approaching serious safety events with a process called Root Cause Analysis, which helps clinicians and administrators identify the situations or circumstances that contribute to harm. Uncovering these situations and circumstances will guide us to make appropriate systems changes to reduce or eliminate harm.

3. Enhance our Safety Culture by adhering to the principles of High Reliability Organizations (HRO) by the end of 2017/18.

What we’re doing: High reliability concepts are tools that a growing number of hospitals are using to help achieve their safety, quality, and efficiency goals. Hospitals do most things right, much of the time. But even very infrequent failures in critical processes can have harmful consequences for a patient. We’re focusing on creating a culture and processes that radically reduce system failures and effectively respond when failures do occur. Aviation and nuclear power are examples of highly reliable industries.

4. Improve Staff Safety by reducing lost time injury count, frequency rate and/or severity by 20% by the end of the 2017/2018 fiscal year.

What we’re doing: SickKids will enhance staff safety by focusing on meeting or exceeding occupational health and safety legislated requirements, implementing evidence-based best practices, promoting leadership accountability, and engaging staff.

Please visit the Patient Safety page to learn more about how we engage patients and families in conversations about safety at SickKids.