“I recognize that finding time for staff training and making sure the training is effectively practiced are challenges in a busy clinical setting. But taking care of patients means that both goals must be met to ensure safety, quality, and best possible clinical outcomes. As one who speaks and writes regularly about patient advocacy, I am more comfortable than most when it comes to finding my voice and speaking up – professionally and constructively. It may not be so easy for others. The bottom line is that clinical staff have an obligation to make sure all patients are well cared for from the time they walk in the door until they are ready to leave.
The Joint Commission’s 2021 Ambulatory Health Care National Patient Safety Goals address four critical areas of health care safety: patient identification, medication management, infection control, and prevention of medical errors. Based on my experience, two more areas are needed: patient communication and discharge protocols.
In the meantime, I will keep my advocacy sword polished and ready, honoring the spirit of Alexander Cockburn who died at age 71 of cancer. I’d like to think he advocated for himself as long as he could until his death.”
Bonnie Friedman is the author of Hospital Warrior: How to Get the Best Care for Your Loved One and can be reached at Hospital Warrior.
She shares her story and discusses her KevinMD article, “The advocate’s sword stands polished and ready.”
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