Safe Night Initiative Strengthens Collaboration and Enhances Patient Care

All patients deserve equal, high-quality medical care. Whether the sun shines and the birds sing, or the stars stretch across a dark sky, treatment of patients should remain the same.

For soon-to-be-mothers, the availability of 24/7 care is especially essential. No parent should find themselves or their child injured as a result of inconsistent medical care. Day or night, childbirth should always be a safe, joyous process.

Unfortunately, daytime shifts at hospitals often have systems and team-based care that are vastly more developed than those of the nighttime shift. With a weaker safety net and a lack of communication between those that care for them, patients who require close attention at night are more likely to be unmonitored or insufficiently monitored. In these instances, simple communication might result in much better and safer care.

A Simple Fix for Better Patient Care

Staff at one hospital saw this nighttime care disparity clearly reflected in their numbers. Inpatient mortality rates were at a concerning 2.08 percent. So, they decided to implement a system that could improve the transition between shifts, and better convey which patients required nighttime attention.

At its most basic level, the system consists of the identification of patients who are at risk for decline overnight. These patients are named “watchers,” a status that is noted in their electronic medical records.

Additionally, at 9:30 p.m. each night, hospital staff — interns, nurses, respiratory technicians, and evening nurse coordinators — gather to discuss the status of each watcher, review care plans, and develop contingencies.

Patient Care that extends into the next day — every day

Could the fix to such a sizeable gap in care really be so simple as one word?

Indeed, it could.

Inpatient mortality rates saw a dramatic decline, from 2.08 percent to 1.56 percent. The clarity and focus that was provided by consciously designating at-risk patients saved lives. Creating a more seamless transition between care ensured that such care was at the level it needed to be.

However, reliable care should be the expectation — not the exception. In order to become more reliable, hospitals need to develop interprofessional teams that communicate in order to anticipate and mitigate harm before it ever occurs.

For expecting parents, this means that nighttime labor should produce no more stress or risk than daytime labor. A child’s health and well-being is far too important to be put at risk because of poor communication.

If your newborn was injured as a result of medical negligence, we can help.

Unfortunately, disparities in care remain fixed in many hospitals and healthcare organizations across the United States. With some problems presenting such easy solutions, one would think such disparities might be eliminated quickly. Negligence on the part of medical professionals can be the cause of a devastating turn of events in a child’s life.

Our medical malpractice attorneys at The Eisen Law Firm are committed to holding doctors and hospitals accountable for their actions — or inaction. If you or someone you love was injured as a result of medical negligence, contact us for a free consultation by calling 216-687-0900 or reaching out to us online.