At Boulder Community Health, patient safety is our #1 concern. Our physicians, employees and volunteers are dedicated to delivering the highest quality of care in the safest possible environment. We actively participate in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s (IHI) 5 Million Lives Campaign, which is a national effort to reduce preventable deaths in hospitals. One of the campaign’s key “interventions” is the deployment of a rapid response team. The IHI defines the rapid response team as a group that is “trained to help when there are signs that a patient is getting much sicker.”
Boulder Community Health has had an effective, rapid response team in place since September of 2005 – the BCH STAT Team. The team is comprised of three experienced and trained clinical professionals:
- An ICU nurse
- An ER nurse
- A respiratory therapist
The STAT Team is available 24/7 to quickly bring critical care expertise to any patient’s bedside, if needed. The goal is to help patients before there is a medical emergency. BCH STAT Team members can intervene and get the patient any needed services, such as laboratory tests, medications, or even moving the patient to the ICU. The team coordinates with the physician in charge of the patient’s care.
Every BCH caregiver is trained to activate the STAT Team when support and intervention are needed. There are often warning signs to help indicate when a patient is getting much sicker, such as:
- Changes in heart or respiratory rate
- Drop in blood pressure
- Changes in urinary output
- Confusion or other change in mental status
- When something begins to look “wrong” with the patient
We firmly believe that families are valuable partners in ensuring patients’ safety. That’s why we recently expanded our STAT Team program by empowering patients’ families to directly activate the team when they think their loved one needs those resources. Family members sometimes notice changes in a patient’s condition, behavior or response that are concerning to them. Because these changes could indicate that additional support and intervention may be needed, we encourage families to immediately communicate with the patient’s bedside nurse or physician. If, however, the caregiver seems unresponsive and a family member is concerned about a patient’s deteriorating medical condition, the family now has an alternative -- they can activate the BCH STAT Team themselves.
Empowering families to activate the BCH STAT Team is our latest effort to encourage patients and their families to be our partners in improving patient safety.