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35th Medical Group medics unite for patient safety

Members of the 35th Medical Group perform a comical skit about the importance of patient safety at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 28, 2017. The skit was one event that took place in light of Patient Safety Awareness Week. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie A. Hutto)

Members of the 35th Medical Group perform a comical skit about the importance of patient safety at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 28, 2017. The skit was one event that took place in light of Patient Safety Awareness Week. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie A. Hutto)

U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Emily Orlowicz, a 673rd In-Patient Operations Squadron clinical nurse from, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, inspects the mock patients for any errors that don’t comply with the doctor’s order as Mater Sgt. Anray Fiers 35th MDG Education and Training Manager, observes during the “room of horror” challenge in recognition of National Patient Safety Awareness Week at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 25, 2017. The “room of horror” is a simulated patient’s hospital room riddled with errors from something as minor as the patient not having the call button within reach to major errors such as the bandage dressing being on the wrong leg. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie A. Hutto)

U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Emily Orlowicz, a 673rd In-Patient Operations Squadron clinical nurse from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, inspects the mock patients for any errors that don’t comply with the doctor’s order as Master Sgt. Anray Fiers, 35th MDG Education and Training Manager, observes during the “room of horror” challenge in recognition of National Patient Safety Awareness Week at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 25, 2017. The “room of horror” is a simulated patient’s hospital room riddled with errors from something as minor as the patient not having the call button within reach to major errors such as the bandage dressing being on the wrong leg. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie A. Hutto)

U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Emily Orlowicz, a 673rd In-Patient Operations Squadron clinical nurse from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, annotates errors she observes based off the doctor’s order during the “room of horror” challenge at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 25, 2017. The “room of horror” was set up for two days and designed to engage the 35th MDG staff through an educational and awareness-building activity specific to patient safety. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie A. Hutto)

U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Emily Orlowicz, a 673rd In-Patient Operations Squadron clinical nurse from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, annotates errors she observed based off the doctor’s order during the “room of horror” challenge at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 25, 2017. The “room of horror” was set up for two days and designed to engage the 35th MDG staff through an educational and awareness-building activity specific to patient safety. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie A. Hutto)

Members of the 35th Medical Group laugh during the performance of a comical skit about the importance of patient safety at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 28, 2017. This year’s theme, United for Patient Safety, highlighted the national education and awareness-building campaign which caters to improving patient safety in the United States military and civilian hospitals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie A. Hutto)

Members of the 35th Medical Group laugh during the performance of a comical skit about the importance of patient safety at Misawa Air Base, Japan, April 28, 2017. This year’s theme, United for Patient Safety, highlighted the national education and awareness-building campaign which caters to improving patient safety in the United States military and civilian hospitals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie A. Hutto)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- The 35th Medical Group locally celebrated National Patient Safety Awareness Week here, April 23 to 29.

This year’s theme, United for Patient Safety, highlights the national education and awareness-building campaign which caters to improving patient safety in the United States military and civilian hospitals.

“Patient safety is not just a week of awareness but something we emphasize, act on, discuss and strive for every day,” said Rupal Kasudia, the 35th MDG patient safety program coordinator. “The 35th MDG fosters an environment for open dialog between patients and health care providers. This year’s theme emphasizes that everyone is responsible for patient safety, and by uniting together with the same common goal, we can make a bigger impact.”

The 35th MDG engaged staff through an educational and awareness-building activity focused on patient safety. The “room of horrors” activity included a patient hospital room riddled with errors from things like the simulated patient not having a call button within reach to identifying a surgery was on the wrong knee.

Prior to entering the room participants received a doctor’s order and based off this they had to assess the area and find a minimum of nine issues with one bonus error. Each person was timed and at the end of the two days, scores were tallied and winners announced.

“The ‘room of horror’ was a fun way to involve staff during Patient Safety Awareness Week and a good review of identifying errors,” said Master Sgt. Charlene Blount, the 35th MDG education and training flight chief. “When we regularly practice skills such as these, it builds our muscle memory and increases our awareness that something may be wrong.”

As part of a continuous process, staff focuses on safety through communication. Patients are encouraged to become an active partner in managing healthcare by asking questions and understanding the different aspects of care to build partnerships and help improve patient safety.

“The Patient Safety Program is integrated in every facet of the 35th MDG's healthcare delivery system,” Kasudia said. “It exists to promote a culture of safety through collaborative endeavors with all services and functions in the 35th MDG.”

The overall goal of the week is for all healthcare systems to highlight patient safety and that it is a public health issue throughout the nation, she continued. There needs to be more awareness in the community.
“It is something everyone actively needs to be involved with so we can make a bigger difference,” said Kasudia.

Patient safety is an everyday function, but this week helps bring more awareness throughout the hospital and community.

To parallel this year’s theme the 35th MDG ended the week with a potluck where everyone brought a traditional dish from their hometown or heritage. Accompanying the potluck was a comical skit, performed by a few medical staff members.

“It was a great way to highlight patient safety and a way to participate for patient safety awareness week,” Kasudia said. “Safety is a serious matter, however, having fun with it will bring more awareness. Next year we plan on broadening the activities for patients and 35th MDG staff members.”