At Princeton HealthCare System (PHCS), our medical staff and employees are dedicated to ensuring patient safety and providing exceptional care each and every day.
What We're Doing
Princeton HealthCare System is proud of the processes it has in place to keep patients safe during their stay.
PHCS is committed to maintaining compliance with National Patient Safety Goals established by the Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies more than 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. In 2011, University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro (UMCPP) was recognized by The
Joint Commission as one of the Top Performers on Key Quality Measures
in the United States in 2010.
Top Performer hospitals represent the top 14 percent of Joint
Commission-accredited hospitals (of those that report core measure
performance data). UMCPP is among only 405 hospitals nationwide being recognized in this first year of The Joint Commission's new recognition program.
Here is a list of some of the measures we have in place to ensure patient safety and quality care.
- Patient Identification - To enhance patient safety by avoiding patient identification errors, the staff at PHCS adheres to the "Check Two Before You Do" motto. Whenever any team member approaches a patient at any point, they confirm name and date of birth or verify the medical record number prior to delivering any care.
- Medication Reconciliation - Upon arrival at PHCS, patients or their caregivers are asked to provide a list of all current medications. This helps doctors make informed treatment decisions and prescribe medication appropriately to avoid duplication and adverse reactions.
Prior to discharge, the patient is provided a list that outlines the medications they were previously prescribed, explains the medications administered at the hospital and includes instructions for what to continue at home.
- Anticoagulation Therapy Protocols - For patients on blood thinning medications, even the slightest deviation can be serious and life threatening. At UMCPP, we have protocols in place to closely monitor patients on anticoagulation drugs and guide necessary adjustments. The pharmacy team at UMCPP is actively involved in managing these cases.
- Infection Control - The infection control team at UMCPP comprises specially trained nurses and an infectious disease physician who work together to conduct infection surveillance, prevention, and control system-wide. This team works closely with local and state health departments to address current infection control issues and trends
Hand hygiene is a key component of preventing the spread of infection. We provide alcohol-based hand gel for medical staff and visitors at convenient locations in all patient-care areas. Our staff members perform hand hygiene before and after each patient encounter.
To further reduce the spread of infection, hospital staff may don gloves, masks, eye protection and gowns as needed. For patients who have conditions that may require additional precautions, a sign is posted at the doorway of the patient room to alert staff and visitors.
In addition, our staff follows best practices to prevent infection related to central venous lines, urinary catheters, ventilator use and surgery.
Fall Prevention - Patient falls are some of the most frequent accidents in hospitals. To prevent falls, many patient beds are low to the floor and are equipped with fall alarms. If a patient is at high-risk for falling, it is noted on their identification wristband and the healthcare staff is alerted to take extra precautions.
Preventing Pressure Ulcers - When patients are confined to a hospital bed for extended periods, they can be at risk for developing pressure ulcers. At UMCPP, our Skin and Wound Action Team (SWAT) follows high-risk patients and implements measures to prevent pressure sores, such as ordering specialized pressure-relieving medical beds or boots to elevate feet and heels.
Intensivists Program - Specially trained intensivists are physicians with advanced critical care board certifications who specialize in treating the most seriously ill or injured patients. At UMCPP, a compassionate team of intensivists carefully and closely manages each patient in the ICU around the clock. Studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association have shown that patients whose ICU care is managed by an intensivist achieve more successful clinical outcomes and recover more quickly.
Computerized Provider Order Entry - At PHCS the majority of physician orders and prescriptions are now "written" electronically. This improves accuracy, helps prevent errors associated with handwritten orders, and alerts doctors to drug interactions and dosage errors.
- Safe Patient Handling - In conjunction with the state's Safe Patient Handling Act, PHCS has developed a comprehensive program designed to help patients move more safely and comfortably during their stay, while also helping prevent injuries to our staff members. For more information about safe patient handling, click here.
What You Can Do
As a patient, you are a critical partner in your own healthcare. At PHCS, we encourage patients to take an active role in their treatment. If you have questions about tests, medications, surgical procedures or even whether your provider has performed hand hygiene, we want you to ask.
As we work to ensure your health and safety, here are 10 actions you can take to enhance the quality of your care. The Joint Commission provides these tips:
- Educate yourself about your illness. Learn about the medical tests you get and your treatment plan. Write down important facts your doctor tells you and read and understand all medical forms before you sign anything.
- Pay attention to the care you receive. Always make sure you are getting the right treatments and medicines by the right health care professionals. Do not be afraid to tell the doctor, nurse or other health care professional if you think they have the wrong patient or that you are about to get the wrong medication.
- Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate. This person should be able to effectively communicate your needs and wishes and work cooperatively with the healthcare team for your best care. Your advocate can also help make sure you get the right medicines and treatments.
- Carry an up-to-date list of medicines you take in your purse or wallet. Write down how much you take and when you take it. Go over the list with your doctor or caregiver. You can also download this form at My Medication Record, which will help you keep track of vital medication information for your healthcare providers.
- Ask your nurse for written information about the medications you are prescribed. When you get a new medicine tell your doctor or nurse about any allergies or side effects you've had to other medicines.
- If you do not recognize a medicine you are being given, double-check that it is for you.
- Participate in all decisions about your treatment. Know who will be taking care of you, how long the treatment will last and how you should feel.
- Perform hand hygiene and ask visitors and medical personnel to do the same. At PHCS, we understand the importance of hand washing and preventing infections. Don't be afraid to SPEAK UP! and ask all who enter your room to wash their hands or use alcohol-based hand gel.
- Use the call button if you want to get out of bed, and wear slip-proof socks or slippers during your hospital stay. Tell the doctor or nurse if you are feeling dizzy or weak before getting up.
- Prior to leaving the hospital, make sure you understand all the instructions related to your follow-up care.
At PHCS, we are committed to providing high-quality care in a safe environment. With the programs we have in place and with your active involvement, together we can ensure your hospital stay is a safe one.