Home Health

Home care (home health, hospice, home and community-based services and private duty) has a unique opportunity to help move patient safety forward. It is the fastest growing sector in healthcare today. Based in the patient’s home, this care setting could be the foundation for improving population health and preventing readmissions.

Since the IOM released its landmark report in 1999, most of the patient safety research has been centered within hospital walls. This year, the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) presented eight recommendations to assist with moving patient safety forward, one of which addresses patient safety across the entire care continuum. Home care is poised to address patient safety, regardless of setting, as its professionals interact on a daily basis with multiple disciplines of healthcare.

Home care has its own unique challenges. Since it is based in the patient’s home and not a controlled environment, the home care professional must find the balance between what is safe and best for the patient within the environment created by the patient and their family. However, many of the patient safety events that occur in hospitals also occur in the patient’s home, including events such as falls, medication events, device events, healthcare-acquired infections and pressure ulcers. However, other potential safety hazards exist in homes that are not present within hospital walls, creating barriers to patient and healthcare worker safety. Examples are unsanitary conditions, cigarette smoke, aggressive pets, clutter to the point of hoarding, or insect infestations. To truly move home care forward in the area of patient safety, research must be completed to assess barriers in the home care arena, which are not present in a traditional healthcare setting.

The other area where home care can help push patient safety forward is in patient safety culture. The NPSF stated in its recommendations that leaders should establish and sustain a safety culture. As the NPSF affirmed, improving patient safety requires an organizational culture that enables and prioritizes patient safety. While safety activities and processes are important, they will not last or be engrained in daily activities until leadership makes patient safety a priority and supports a culture of patient safety.

The Center for Patient Safety is committed to promoting safe and quality healthcare, helping providers design safer processes and systems to reduce medical errors. Driven by the vision of a healthcare environment safe for all patients and healthcare providers, in all processes all the time, the Center serves as a central resource and facilitator to improve the safety and quality of care provided to citizens using a collaborative approach to education, information, resource sharing and learning.

One of the Center’s major tools to identify opportunities for improvement is the PSO database where the participants share events, near misses, unsafe conditions and lessons learned through root cause analyses. This year the Center’s annual PSO report highlights how patient safety isn’t just hospital-based, but rather is carried across the healthcare continuum. Over 400 events within the home care arena were analyzed, which indicates falls and medication errors are highly recurring patient safety events.

What does the future hold for the Center for Patient Safety, home care and patient safety? The goal is for home care providers to take a pledge to establish a culture of patient safety and begin routine implementation of processes that promote patient safety. The Center will continue to reach out and serve as a resource to organizations and focus on three objectives:

  1. Protecting – personal guidance on how to best protect patient safety and quality analysis and deliberations
  2. Learning – new opportunities for PSO participants to improve patient safety culture and implement best practices
  3. Preventing – improved analyses of the PSO database to identify opportunities for providers to reduce adverse events and patient harm

We at the Center are excited to be working with home care providers as we strive to improve patient safety for all individuals across the healthcare continuum.

The Center for Patient Safety (CPS) offers several patient safety services specific to Home Health:

PSO Services:
PSO Services for Home Health Services

Culture Services:

Second Victim Experience
Home Health & Hospice Survey on Patient Safety Culture
Just Culture

Learn More:
Home health and hospice facilities working with CPS

Complete the form below to find out more about our Home Health opportunities and start working with the patient safety experts today!

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The Center for Patient Safety believes that collaboration and sharing are the best ways to drive improvement. We strive to provide the right solutions and resources to improve healthcare safety and quality.