Keep patients, colleagues safe during National Safety Month

June 28, 2017  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources

At Michigan Medicine, keeping patients and colleagues as safe and healthy as possible is the top priority. That’s why reviewing and staying familiar with the organization’s safety protocols should become a regular part of your work routine.

In honor of National Safety Month, here are some valuable steps you can take to make the academic medical center a safe place to work and heal.

Review fire safety information

Every unit or department has fire safety protocols visible in employee areas. This includes a map of emergency exits, information on how to use fire extinguishers and details of critical incident plans.

These protocols are updated regularly, and every faculty and staff member is required to undergo fire safety training as part of their mandatory trainings each year.

While specific plans may vary from unit to unit, here’s what you should do if you discover a fire on your floor. The acronym RACE can be used to commit these actions to memory:

  • R: Rescue — Rescue and remove occupants from the immediate danger area. If you work on a patient care floor, review the protocols in your area to become better familiar with how you can help patients and families. Remember, do NOT use the elevators.
  • A: Alarm — Manually pull a fire alarm, call 9-1-1 to report the fire and alert individuals in your area of the need to evacuate.
  • C: Contain — Close doors and windows behind you, clear corridors and shut off medical gases if necessary.
  • E: Extinguish — If you are unable to escape or if it is safe to do so, try to extinguish the fire with an extinguisher

Click here to read more techniques on how to stay safe in case of a fire.

Be on the lookout for signs of a stroke

Michigan Medicine employees are required to review the signs of a stroke on an annual basis as patients or colleagues could have a stroke at any time.

If someone is having a stroke, every minute is critical. Be aware of the following warning signs that a stroke may be in progress.

The acronym FAST can be used to commit these signs to memory:

  • F: Face — typically, one side of the face will droop or have difficulty moving
  • A: Arm — a person will have trouble raising his or her arm fully
  • S: Speech — speech will be difficult to understand or will not make sense
  • T: Time — if any of these symptoms are present, time is of the essence. Call 9-1-1 immediately

Practice hand hygiene

The simplest, most effective way to limit the spread of germs is by washing your hands. Here are some handy tips to keep in mind:

  • Clean in/clean out: Make sure you wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer whenever you enter or exit a patient’s room.
  • Remind your colleagues: If you see a coworker forget to wash, remind them. It’s your way of being a good teammate.
  • Thank: If you are reminded to wash, thank the person who reminded you for keeping patients and colleagues safe.

Get enough sleep

Did you know that 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep? While that may not seem like an obvious safety hazard, fatigue can lead to a lack of focus or awareness while you are on the job — putting yourself or others at risk.

On top of that, sleep deprivation raises an individual’s overall risk of depression, obesity and heart disease.

To help you get better sleep, check out some helpful tips from Cathy Goldstein, M.D., a Michigan Medicine sleep expert.

Thank you for making safety a priority at Michigan Medicine!