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SCL Health Improves Process for COVID-19 Patients Wins National Patient Safety Award

SCL Health is the winner of the 2022 Innovation Award from Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare (PSQH). The award recognizes healthcare organizations from around the country for their innovation in overcoming a quality improvement challenge with a practice that hospitals and caregivers everywhere can use. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, healthcare organizations had to look for solutions to new problems they had never faced. A team at SCL Health was formed to create an innovative and multidisciplinary approach to the challenge of proning patients. They found a better way to conduct patient proning, which involves placing patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) on their stomachs to allow better distribution and air volume in their lungs. 

“It became apparent how connected the safety of our caregivers was to the safety of our patients,” said Heidi Wald, MD, Vice President Chief Quality and Safety Officer at SCL Health. “Our mantra became: "We need to keep our people safe to keep our patients safe." 

SCL Health’s Good Samaritan Medical Center and Saint Joseph Hospital piloted the process transformation that is now being used at all eight hospitals system-wide. Nancy McGann, Manager of Clinical Associate Safety at SCL Health, said, “The interdisciplinary team came together and rapidly created a toolkit to reduce caregiver injury, hospital-acquired pressure injuries and save time for our stretched critical care workforce. I am very proud to be a part of their work!" 

The team developed a toolkit that included a 3-tiered flow diagram, and the supply chain ensured all items were available system-wide. Positioning equipment included ceiling and mobile lifts, wedges, fluidizers, foams, tape, aerated mats, and operating room prone positioners. The toolkit also included videos, job aids, and a proning checklist disseminated system-wide before the second surge in Colorado. SCL Health has shared this work nationally on several occasions, and a copy of the PSQH Innovation Awards article can be found here

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About SCL Health 
SCL Health is a faith-based, nonprofit healthcare organization dedicated to improving the health of the people and communities we serve. Founded by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth in 1864, our health network provides comprehensive, coordinated care through eight hospitals, 160 physician clinics, home health, hospice, mental health, and safety-net services in Colorado and Montana. 

About PSQH 
Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare (PSQH) provides insights and analysis on issues related to healthcare improvement, quality, and safety, across all settings. Published daily online, PSQH serves the needs of those dedicated to ensuring the highest levels of quality and safety, including the c-suite, quality and safety management, and their teams.