Clinical Risk Management in Healthcare
The Staff Needs to be Prepared All the Time
In a healthcare facility, safety should always be paramount. The staff needs to ensure that they are not putting patients, visitors or themselves in danger. However, it cannot also be denied that there are risks to staff whilst caring for individuals displaying clinically-related challenging behaviors. Distress or agitation experienced by patients might lead to physical aggression. For better risk management in healthcare, all professionals need to be flexible and vary their approach according to the situation that presents itself.
Physical Intervention is Not Always the Answer
When a patient’s behavior is not normal or a physical threat to staff or the patient themselves, you have to deal with that immediately and in the safest way possible. However, physical interventions should only be used as a last resort to managing an emergency where there is an immediate risk to the health, safety, and well-being of the patient, staff or visitor. Also, any intervention should always be used in conjunction with continuous de-escalation, focusing on skilled communication techniques and fostering, good relationships and diversions to avoid situations from flaring up again.
Staff Awareness is Crucial — Understand Patient Behavior
Clinical risk management in healthcare requires a more systematic and thought-thorough approach. Staff awareness is absolutely crucial and one has to identify what it is that’s making the individual do what they’re doing. The first thing is — you’ve always got to be vigilant and expect the unexpected. That might include:
- Thinking about how you position yourself with someone whose behavior might suddenly change and perhaps — become violent.
- Knowing what the patients like and what they don’t.
- Being aware of a patient’s body language or looking for changes in body language if an individual is going to throw a punch, so you are able to take avoiding action.
- Thinking about what might be triggering such behaviors.
- Ensuring that you are calm, reassuring and that you are not invading the body space of a patient.
Communication Plays a Key Role
Communication, along with prevention, avoidance, diversion, and de-escalation, is one of the most effective risk management tools in healthcare to deal with challenging behaviors. Good communication with the patient — both verbal and non-verbal, as well as within the team in situations that involve potential risk is crucial. The staff should try to get as much background information as they can by talking to the patients, getting clues from what they tell them, information from their relatives or maybe information that has been sent by their referring general practitioner.
Compassion is Equally Important
We often hear that compassion costs nothing. Actually, it is quite costly in terms of skills and the emotional impact on staff. Recognizing how difficult some of these situations are for staff is a key part of the clinical risk management services offered by Medlinks Cost Containment. The good thing is, there are the skills around to make life a lot better. In mental health practice, staffs are pretty used to the de-escalation, ways of distracting, and keeping someone calm even when there is a developing difficult situation. However, there is a desperate need to polish these skills as well as learn new. Health care professions who have very highly developed empathetic and communication skills need to be recognized and utilized rather than being heavy-handed with staff people. It’s a matter of finding them and developing them.
A Common Problem that Staff Faces
One of the biggest challenges that the staff members FACE while handling patients is that they really don’t know what to do in a lot of situations. They aren’t fundamentally disrespectful of patients, however, very frustrated about how to deal with difficult situations. Also, they have many competing priorities and organizations are wanting to minimize the risks around many things in control and unfold. And this is yet another thing on their plate. Enterprise risk management in healthcare requires expertise on how to manage difficulties or handle patient behaviors. If you are able to do it well, you can achieve a much better outcome. Without proper skills, the potential to make things worse is very high.
Dealing with Challenging Patient Behavior
People with many mental health problems respond to good, friendly and helpful relationships. It often helps to break down barriers instantly and easily. Getting to know someone is the key to recognize triggers and stresses, which could potentially lead to agitation and stress in a patient. if the individuals becoming a danger to themselves or to others, then you need to intervene straight away to protect them and other individuals around them. However, if they do not pose any threat, then you can stand back and try to identify the triggers for that behavior. You might be interacting with a patient in a way that the individual doesn’t understand what you’re saying or doing or the context of those things. You need to figure out a way or come up with better ideas to take control of potentially dangerous situations.
When there is a challenging situation, it’s always good to debrief with staff members and have a look at what happened. Look at the environment of what potentially might have caused the challenging behavior and what could have perhaps been done to prevent the situation from being escalated. It’s always important to listen to staff in order to be able to vocal about what happened, and look back in and learn. It’s a really good risk management solution. Facilities need to understand that managing this sort of thing is not at all easy. In fact, it’s highly skilled and there are a lot of the things we need to do which are not always intuitive.
Medlinks Cost Containment for Risk Management in Healthcare
Medlinks Cost Containment is all about helping healthcare facilities be proactive, aware, and prepared for the worst. We can help your staff with our top clinical health risk management services and assist in avoiding mistakes, which can later turn out to be very costly.