Athens Regional Health System
706.475.7000

Patient Safety

Safety is of utmost importance at Athens Regional.

We're continually recognized as one of the top hospitals in the country in terms of patient safety. For years, we've been awarded first place honors for Quality and Safety by Georgia's Partnership for Health and Accountability. These honors recognize outstanding care and service in patient safety and medical outcomes.

Some of our key areas of focus include:

In terms of general safety, we:

  • Gather accurate data about patient history and current health problems.
  • Verify allergies to medicines, food or latex.
  • Involve patients in their care whenever possible.
  • Ensure patients clearly understand what we are doing.
  • Educate patients on how to avoid falls, assess every patient admitted to the hospital for fall risks and identify all high risk patients with a readily visible alert so risk is known.

In terms of infection control safety, we: 

  • Wash our hands with soap and water or an alcohol disinfectant.
  • Educate patients about preventing the spread of germs.
  • Wear gloves for invasive procedures (starting IVs, changing dressings, caring for surgical wounds, during surgery).
  • Keep our environment clean to prevent the passing of infectious organisms from one patient to another.

In terms of medication safety, we:

  • Make sure we know what home medicines patients are taking.
  • Match patient names and dates of birth to other documents and to the patient to ensure we are scheduling/transporting/providing care to/ordering labs or blood for/submitting specimens for/administering medicines or prescriptions to the correct patient, every time.
  • Label medicines that have been removed from their original containers.
  • Review the list of medications they are on prior to leaving the hospital.
  • Educate patients about new medicines or answer any questions they have about any medicine they are taking.

In terms of surgical/procedural safety, we:

  • Mark surgery sites whenever left or right is a concern.
  • Take a time-out before the procedure begins to make sure all surgery team members are in agreement about:
    • Patient identification.
    • Planned procedure.
    • Planned side and site.
    • Patient position during surgery.
    • Supporting documents and studies available.
    • Consents signed.
    • Ordered medications administered and safety precautions addressed.
  • Follow nationally accepted standards of surgery care that help prevent surgical wound infections:
    • Ensure that patients who should have preventive antibiotics before surgery get the correct antibiotic at the appropriate time.
    • Protect patients from venous thrombosis (blood clots).
    • Remove hair properly, using a clipper.
    • Administer certain heart medicines (beta blockers) during the perioperative period to patients who were on them before surgery.
    • Monitor the blood sugars of diabetic patients during surgery to keep them in glycemic control.
    • Keep patients warm during surgery.
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