Patient Safety Awareness Week Emphasizes Awareness

The National Patient Safety Foundation broadened the theme of the 2012 Patient Safety Awareness Week to include everyone at each step of the health care process. “Be aware for safe care” is the theme of 2012’s campaign to raise awareness of safety issues throughout the health care process. This year’s event is from March 4 to March 10. The NPSF produces educational resources and materials called the Patient Safety Awareness Toolkit for health care providers, patients and even communities that want to take part in the safety awareness campaign.

The toolkit is designed to help engage patients, community and staff at every level in patient safety. The NPSF encourages health care providers to prominently display the program materials and the campaign logo. The group provides educational resources to the staff of the hospital or health center. Health care professionals also can customize a Patient Safety Awareness Toolkit to better meet specific organizational needs.

The National Patient Safety Foundation has led and promoted the safety awareness week activities since 2002. A variety of efforts are being made in the United States and abroad to improve patient safety, including campaigns to prevent wrong side surgeries and other medical errors.

The NPSF also is promoting the Universal Patient Compact, which creates a framework for effective partnerships between patients and providers. The compact encourages providers to include the patients and families on the health care team.

Promoters hope Be Aware for Safe Care resonates with everyone in the health care process from the patients and their families to the staff of the medical center to the health care professionals attending to the patients. The theme for 2011’s Patient Safety Awareness Week was “Commit to Safe Health Care.” That campaign encouraged everyone in the health care industry to stay involved, informed and invested in every patient’s care.

Studies have shown that medical record documentation is the largest contributor to patient risk. There are campaigns under way to standardize medical record keeping to make it easier for caregivers to find patient allergies marked in different places in the records or ensure consistent dosing information.

Patient Safety Awareness Week has become a tradition in many hospitals and medical centers. The annual event is an opportunity for administrators to refocus caregivers, patients and families on the importance of safety and communication in the health care industry.

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago personal injury lawyer and Chicago personal injury attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

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