Who’s PAT, and why do we care about what happens to him…or her?
PAT (Patient Accidental Tragedy) represents that patient that many nurses and nursing staff care for that is just one (or two, or three) too many to be safe for the staff member to manage. Maybe your mom has been PAT. Or one of your children. Or a spouse. Maybe your loved one was on the receiving end of a medical error that resulted in an injury…or, worse, a fatality.
Have you ever thought about what could cause this kind of event?
Nursing staff think about it all the time. One of the culprits is unsafe nurse-to-patient ratios. If a nurse or a CNA has too many people to care for, there is no possible way to spend enough time with each patient to manage their many needs. As a result, some patients end up with chronic wounds that are difficult and expensive to manage. Sometimes, it goes further—there’s a fall incident or a medication error.
Falls can lead to fractures, skin, spine and head injuries, and occasionally death. Think about the x-rays, CT images, surgeries, long-term rehabilitation, skilled nursing placement, and financial (as well as emotional) disruption for families. Medication errors can lead to patients not getting medications they require, or getting too much or too little of a medication—both of which can be disastrous.
It’s preventable. All we have to do is assign the appropriate number of patients to each staff member, depending on the needs of the patients in each unit, floor or facility.
What’s interesting: that’s exactly what is NOT happening in hospitals, rehabs and long-term care facilities across the US.
Nurses and CNAs are chronically understaffed. They are told to do more with less. They are frequently working injured and overworked. Not only do the staff members pay for such demanding, heavy workloads…but so do the patients.
If you live in the United States, you’ll likely require medical care at some point in your life. If you are a nurse or healthcare provider, you will not only be providing medical care, you will also likely be a patient at some point. Between July 2016 and May 2017, nurses and nursing staff, medical providers and healthcare consumers all across the United States will participate in Walks for Patient Safety and 5K Runs for Patient Safety. These events are designed to bring awareness to the public health crisis of medical errors related to unsafe staffing (as well as other factors). We invite nurses, medical providers, allied health professionals, patient advocates, and healthcare consumers (meaning “anyone”) to participate in these events. Come out, support your colleagues, family and communities. PAT will be there!
Anyone can be a patient. Illness does not discriminate. Help SMYS fight for safer patient care.
One day, PAT could be you! PAT is going on Patient Safety Walks and 5k Runs. PAT is coming to your state. This year, we ask nurses, the public to help raise awareness of unsafe staffing and medical errors. We ask professional organizations and legislators to help us save PAT. We ask YOU to join us on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook), join us on Patient Safety walks/5k runs, write your legislators and professional organizations, and help us #SavePAT.
Follow on Twitter: #NursesTakeDC, #SavePAT, @SMYSOFFICIAL, @Nurses4NPR, @RUN4PAT, @WalkForPatientSafety
Register for a Patient Safety Walk or 5k Run in your state (information forthcoming—check frequently, or email for updates).