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Family Alert Initiative at N.C. Children’s Hospital wins Socius award from National Patient Safety Foundation

CHAPEL HILL – A new initiative at the N.C. Children’s Hospital that empowers family members of patients to call for help in the hospital is being honored by the National Patient Safety Foundation.

May 1, 2007 

Family Alert Initiative at N.C. Children’s Hospital wins
Socius award from National Patient Safety Foundation


CHAPEL HILL – A new initiative at the N.C. Children’s Hospital that empowers family members of patients to call for help in the hospital is being honored by the National Patient Safety Foundation.
     
Tina Schade Willis, M.D., will accept the Socius award on behalf of the N.C. Children’s Hospital on May 4 at the National Patient Safety Foundation Congress in Washington, D.C. The award is being given for the hospital’s new Family Alert Initiative, a pilot study being conducted as an addition to the existing Pediatric Rapid Response Team system.
     
“I am thrilled that our program has received this honor,” Willis said. “The success of the pediatric rapid response system is due to the hard work of our many team members and staff that utilize the team without hesitation. Bringing our patients and their families into the activation of this system compliments our hospital culture of patient-centered care and safety.”
     
Dr. Willis led the development of the Pediatric Rapid Response Team with Celeste Mayer, Ph.D., patient safety officer for UNC Hospitals. The N.C. Children’s Hospital at UNC Hospitals activated its Pediatric Rapid Response Team on Aug. 1, 2005. It was the first hospital in North Carolina, and one of the first nationwide, to do so.
     
Staff members were instructed to activate the Pediatric Rapid Response Team when a family member expressed concern about a patient’s condition. N.C. Children’s Hospital staff reviewed the first year of data and found that “family concern” was one of the reasons for activation in 20 percent of the calls and more than half of the patients in those calls required transfer to the intensive care unit.
     
As a result of that finding, the N.C. Children’s Hospital created the Family Alert Initiative, which empowers family members to activate the Pediatric Rapid Response Team themselves. Currently the new initiative is being piloted in 2 inpatient units. Once the system has completed a brief pilot phase for testing the education materials and activation procedure, it will then be implemented in additional units in the Children’s Hospital.
     
Planetree, a nonprofit membership organization that works with hospitals and health care centers to develop and implement patient-centered care in healing environments, nominated the Family Alert Initiative for the award.
     
“The Family Alert Initiative is a partnership that recognizes the importance of engaging families in patient safety. The N.C. Children’s Hospital’s focus on not only implementing the program, but studying the program and demonstrating the power of that partnership through analysis of the data and a pre and post survey of family members, will also help guide other hospitals in their efforts to successfully partner with patients to improve safety,” wrote Carrie Brady, a quality and designation policy strategist for Planetree, in her nomination letter.
     
The NPSF Socius Award derives it name from the Latin word for “partner.” This award is presented to an individual or organization for work that exhibits positive and effective partnership between patients/families and providers in pursuit of improved patient safety. The Socius award honors work that reflects the tenets of patient and family-centered care and the involvement of patients and families in patient safety initiatives through effective partnership with engaged providers.

Media contact: Stephanie Crayton, (919) 966-2860 or scrayton@unch.unc.edu


ABOUT UNC HEALTH CARE
The UNC Health Care System is a not-for-profit integrated health care system owned by the state of North Carolina and based in Chapel Hill. It exists to further the teaching mission of the University of North Carolina and to provide state-of-the-art patient care. UNC Health Care is comprised of UNC Hospitals, ranked consistently among the best medical centers in the country; the UNC School of Medicine, a nationally eminent research institution; community practices; home health and hospice services in seven central North Carolina counties; and Rex Healthcare and its provider network in Wake County.


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