WDHB welcomes latest Quality and Safety Markers results

4 April 2014

WDHB nurse Denise Marshall completes a falls risk assessment at the bedside of patient Brett Phelaung.
Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) continues to improve its performance against the Health Quality Safety Commission’s Quality and Safety Markers (QSMs) released today for the October to December 2013 quarter.  

The QSMs focus on issues recognised as some of the leading causes of patient harm within health care environments. They include:
  • falls
  • healthcare associated infections, central line associated bacteraemia (CLAB) and surgical site infection (SSI) after joint replacement, and
  • perioperative harm.
The QSMs support health care workers to take all actions possible to prevent this type of harm happening to patients by:
  • recognising when a person is at risk of falling and having a good plan in place to prevent this
  • being vigilant about effective hand washing
  • using best practice techniques for preventing infection when inserting central lines in patients
  • preparing skin with the best solution prior to surgery and giving the right dose of preventative antibiotics
  • using, throughout the patients experience in operating theatre, the World Health Organisation’s safety checklist.
WDHB director of nursing, patient safety and quality Sandy Blake says QSMs are invaluable in helping staff evaluate the success of any changes in their processes of care and most importantly, improvements in patient safety.
With regards to the question asked by the QSM around falls: ‘Are we doing the right things?’ and what is the ‘Percentage of older patients assessed for the risk of falling’, the WDHB achieved 92 percent for Quarter 4 which Mrs Blake says is very pleasing.
“This a great result for the Whanganui community and I’m also delighted that of the older patients assessed for the risk of falling, 96 percent received an individualised care plan,” Mrs Blake said.
Meanwhile, for the past couple of years in which Whanganui DHB has been participating in a national collaborative to reduce Central Line Associated Bacteraemia (CLAB) infections in intensive care units, there have been no such infections in the Whanganui’s unit for the last 824 days.
The WDHB’s effective hand hygiene performance has jumped significantly from 64 percent in June 2012 to 77 percent in Quarter 4, 2013 which WDHB infection prevention and control nurse coordinator Ruth Foulkes says reflects the hard work staff have put into raising the level of hand hygiene throughout Wanganui Hospital.
And, in acknowledgment that preparing patients’ skin with the right preparation prior to surgery helps keep them safe from  infection, WDHB surgeons and operating theatre nurses achieved a 100 percent result for the perioperative harm marker by using the appropriate and best international evidenced skin preparation.
WDHB returned a low result in the QSM which asks DHBs to administer a particular antibiotic. This was due to WDHB surgeons using a different antibiotic. While there hasn’t been any issue with Whanganui infection rates, the surgeons have decided to change to use the nationally recommended antibiotic.
“There is no doubt in my mind that when you get your processes right, which is what QSMs are all about, inevitably, your outcomes improve,” Mrs Blake says. “Whanganui DHB participates in gathering its QSM data with the express aim of improving performance and of course, patient safety. We are committed to working hard to make sure the care we give our patients is the best possible.”