Patient Safety Day: Experts inform about drug therapy safety, hand hygiene and child resuscitation

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Patient safety is a central aspect of healthcare and plays a role wherever patient care takes place. In 2023, the International Patient Safety Day, a global WHO campaign, will focus on patient participation under the motto "Engaging patients for patient safety". University Hospital Vienna and MedUni Vienna are once again taking part this year, illuminating the main buildings in the campaign color orange. On September 18th 2023, experts will be on hand to provide information on the key areas of drug therapy safety, hand hygiene, pediatric simulation and child resuscitation.

At the University Hospital Vienna and MedUni Vienna, a wide range of measures are being developed and implemented to increase patient safety. In 2023, the institutions have set themselves the goal of drawing the attention of patients, relatives and staff to particularly key areas on Monday, September 18th 2023 - the first day of the week after Patient Safety Day on September 17th.

Medication knowledge reduces risks of multiple medication

Five years ago, the first and only special outpatient ward for drug therapy and interactions in Austria was established at the University Hospital Vienna. An interdisciplinary team of physicians from the Department of Clinical Pharmacology and clinical pharmacists from the Hospital Pharmacy patients on all aspects of drug therapy.

"A patient is discharged from the hospital after a myocardial infarction with dual antiplatelet therapy. At home, he also takes painkillers containing ASA for his headaches. Shortly afterwards, the patient is readmitted as an inpatient with a stomach bleed," says Martina Anditsch, Head of the Hospital Pharmacy at University Hospital Vienna, describing an example of drug-related problems. "Side effects, drug interactions, decreased adherence, or increased hospitalization rates may be more prevalent in individuals with polymedication. These patients particularly benefit from a visit to the Special Outpatient Ward for Drug Therapy and Interactions at University Hospital Vienna." At the information booth of the special outpatient ward, the team will provide information about its services and key points of drug therapy safety.

Hand hygiene protects against infections

In the healthcare sector, hands are considered to be the most common carriers of pathogens. The simplest and most effective measure to prevent the transmission of pathogens and thus the occurrence of infections is therefore hygienic hand disinfection.

"Patients and visitors to hospitals can make an important contribution to protecting themselves and others from pathogens and infectious diseases by disinfecting their hands before entering and after leaving a patient’s room, before eating, after going to the toilet and after sneezing, coughing or blowing their nose," draws the attention of Elisabeth Presterl, Head of the Department of Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control at University Hospital Vienna and MedUni Vienna. "During the height of the Corona pandemic, a lot of attention was paid to hand hygiene - now we need to stay on it." At the information booth of the Department of Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control, the team demonstrates how to properly perform hand disinfection.

Safety for the smallest

Caring for a critically ill child, a newborn or a premature baby requires time-critical decisions, perfect cooperation and precise medical measures from the medical and nursing team.

"In order to be able to handle such a complex emergency situation well and safely, regular training, structural measures such as guidelines and checklists, as well as targeted debriefings are essential," says Angelika Berger, Head of the Comprehensive Center for Pediatrics (CCP). "Simulation training is particularly effective, using convincingly lifelike child simulators to practice critical pediatric emergency medicine situations under highly realistic conditions." For International Patient Safety Day, the pediatric simulation team will provide a glimpse of emergency training on the premature infant simulator and provide information on child resuscitation techniques.