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Chatham Hospital Strives to Improve Emergency Care for Kids, Increase Medication Safety

SILER CITY – Chatham Hospital is working to improve patient care, focusing on medication safety and training emergency physicians to care for critically ill and injured children by participating in two statewide projects funded by the N.C. Office of Rural Health.

The first project is designed to improve the safety, quality and performance of medication delivery systems and processes at hospitals in North Carolina. The program, called the Medication Safety Consortium, was modeled after a successful initiative in Florida. Chatham Hospital was selected to be a pilot site, along with 28 other critical access hospitals in the state.

A key component of the Medication Safety Consortium project is a comprehensive site visit from an inpatient pharmacist that will include interviews with key hospital leaders, physicians, and the pharmacy staff; direct observation of the hospital's facilities and resources; and a document review of policies and procedures. Pharmacists and peers will be available to provide technical assistance in implementation of site visit recommendations at Chatham Hospital.

"The Medication Safety Consortium allows us to benefit from shared learning across all of the participating hospitals," said Carol Straight, president of Chatham Hospital. "As a result, we will identify specific outcomes, goals and improvement activities to increase medication safety for our patients." Chatham Hospital will have access to an online community, comprised of a user's forum, newsletters, and medication safety toolkits and resources that will allow exchange of information between hospitals and provide information on best practices for all participants. A component of the program is a web-based safety tracking network, which provides an electronic tool to collect and manage adverse drug event data. In a second pilot project, physicians and nurses at Chatham Hospital recently participated in a didactic and hands on training workshop with UNC Health Care's pediatric emergency medicine group, along with four other N.C. hospitals. The project is designed to increase the skill and comfort levels of medical providers treating critically ill or injured pediatric patients. The training held in February at UNC Hospitals' patient simulation center utilized mock resuscitation scenarios.

In addition to the two-day workshop at UNC, Chatham Hospital is receiving site specific education on necessary pediatric medications, supplies and equipment, as well as how best to store and access them. To facilitate ongoing education, each pilot site received a pediatric ALS capable manikin, a handbook of mock resuscitation scenarios, and a standardized checklist to utilize to "score" each resuscitation.

"We strive to provide the best care, everyday for our patients." said Straight. "Chatham Hospital's participation in these programs will ultimately improve the care our local residents receive."

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