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Piedmont Henry Hospital wins patient safety award

Piedmont Henry Hospital has earned recognition at the state level, for helping patients with ulcers. The Stockbridge facility recently won the 2011 Josh Nahum Quality and Patient Safety Award from the Partnership for Health and Accountability.

The accolade was in response to Piedmont Henry’s efforts in pressure ulcer prevention. “Piedmont Henry Hospital’s project titled, ‘Eliminating Harm: Journey to PUPP (Pressure Ulcer Prevention Program),’ won third place in the highly competitive infection prevention and control category,” said the hospital’s public relations specialist, Michelle Nunnally.

“The annual award recognizes Georgia health-care organizations for achievement in reducing the risk of medical errors and improving patient safety and medical outcomes.”

The award is co-sponsored by the Georgia Hospital Association’s Partnership for Health & Accountability, the Kimberly-Clark Corporation, and the SAFECARE campaign. SAFECARE is an organization created by Armando and Victoria Nahum in memory of their son, according to Nunnally.

“At 27 years old, Josh Nahum was injured in a skydiving accident, and later died due to an infection,” Nunnally said. “The Nahums are using SAFECARE to educate the public about infection prevention and are working in tandem with American hospitals and frontline caregivers in this effort.”

Nunnally described pressure ulcers as injuries to the skin, which are caused by pressure in combination with friction. They are typically found in patients who are confined to a bed for a prolonged period of time.

“Ulcers have the potential to interfere with physical, psychological and social well-being and can impact overall quality of life,” she said. “When they occur, they can be painful, debilitating and potentially cause serious health problems, or even death.”

Jeff Frehse, director of performance improvement for Piedmont Henry Hospital, said the pressure-ulcer prevention program was unveiled locally in January of 2012. He said the recent award recognizes, in particular, the work of nurses at the hospital.

“If a pressure ulcer is identified, it will be treated quickly and appropriately,” said Frehse. “What stands out to me is the nursing staff’s dedication to patient safety.”

Nunnally added that the hospital used a pressure ulcer prevention program from a national health care distributor, in an attempt to reduce the occurrence of pressure ulcers in hospital patients.

“Staff learned about, and implemented, best practices to reach the goal,” she said. “The practices included staff education, the use of skin care products and hands-on implementation. Training sessions on prevention strategies were offered and covered risk factors, proper skin care, when to turn patients so they did not stay on one side for too long, and nutrition.”

Joseph Parker, the president of the Georgia Hospital Association, congratulated Piedmont Henry Hospital for its achievement.

“Reducing pressure ulcers is one of the greatest challenges that hospitals face in caring for patients,” said Parker. “We applaud Piedmont Henry Hospital for its leadership and dedication in this important area, and its commitment to providing the best and safest care possible for its patients.”