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Quality Assurance (QA) is a powerful process supported by many scholars because of its ability to improve the nature of services available to more patients. The QA approach is capable of improving the performance of many professionals thereby preventing sentinel events in a healthcare organization. Medical facilities should be aware of specific sentinel events that occur regularly (Lord, 2013). This understanding will ensure the most desirable approaches are put in place to deal with such events. Some of the approaches to QA learned in class have the potential to prevent sentinel events in different healthcare settings.
Total Quality Management (TQM)
To begin with, the Total Quality Management (TQM) approach focuses on the best cultural practices and organizational behaviors that have the potential to improve the level of performance. This model makes it easier for business organizations to develop positive attitudes and practices. The concept ensures that the diverse needs of different customers are put into consideration. The next step in improving the quality of services provided by the organization.
By so doing, the institution will ensure its employees work tirelessly to provide exemplary services to the targeted customers. When applied correctly in a healthcare institution, the TQM model will ensure more nurses work hard to deliver quality services to more patients (Padhy, 2013). The model will ensure the workers work hard to minimize errors and support their patients’ health needs. An empowered workforce will always focus on the needs of their patients. This approach has the potential to reduce or prevent sentinel events.
Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI)
Hospitals that record many never events can benefit significantly from the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) framework. This quality improvement model encourages healthcare professionals to work as a team and improve the outcomes of their patients. The model is evidence-based whereby timely data is used to make the most desirable decisions. The caregivers focus on their current practices and identify the existing gaps. The strategy can be used to make desirable decisions and offer timely support to more patients (Schattenkirk, 2012). The gaps or contributing factors to different sentinel events will be addressed promptly. More workers will be involved in the decision-making approach. The practice will eventually improve the level of healthcare delivery.
Lean and Six Sigma
The Six Sigma concept has been applied in many companies to eliminate errors and improve productivity (Schattenkirk, 2012). This approach embraces the use of data-driven methodologies to remove defects throughout the service-delivery process. The ideas of the Six Sigma model can be used to improve the performance of many healthcare organizations. The QA strategy uses evidence-based data from an institution to identify the major defects or problems affecting the quality of services available to different clients (Jebb et al., 2014). This model can be used by health leaders (HLs) to identify the major challenges affecting the nature of service delivery.
The Lean Model presents similar approaches that can be used by healthcare workers to prevent malpractices and improve the quality of services available to more patients. The important thing is to identify the major issues making it hard for different workers to deliver quality medical care and support. Errors will be presented ad eventually make the targeted institution a leading provider of superior health services (Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, n. d.).
This information can be used to outline the resources and skills that might be developed by healthcare workers. Such skills and resources will empower the targeted followers and eventually make them competent providers of exemplary care. By so doing, the workers will be able to identify the potential sources of sentinel events. The next step will be to promote the best practices that can prevent such never events.
Response to the Statements
The best response to the proposed changes in the Quality Assurance (QA) program is that they can deal with various never events (also called sentinel events). The issue of the nursing shortage is a major challenge that contributes to different never events. This is the case because many patients are unable to access quality and timely medical care (Jebb, Esegbona-Adeigbe, Justice, & Crumbie, 2014). With proper changes, more health institutions will be able to deal with this problem. The main focus should, therefore, be on specific strategies that can increase the number of nurse practitioners (NPS). The workforce will transform the nature of nursing and eventually ensure better services are available to more patients. The management should address the problem of inadequate staffing to prevent various sentinel events.
Defining a “Never Event”
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (n.d.) defines “a never event as a shocking medical error that should never occur” (para. 1). The definition has been expanded to include various unequivocal and adverse events that can affect the health outcomes of more patients. Most of these events are surgical, care management, criminal, device or product, or environmental (Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, n. d.).
Targeted “Never Event”
The sentinel event in the institution occurred when one of the patients received a drug intended for another client. The malpractice resulted in a serious injury thus forcing the institution to provide immediate medical support to the affected patient. The sentinel event showed conclusively that the quality of health care available in the hospital was unsatisfactory (Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, n. d.). The event was discussed at the meeting because it explored the major gaps affecting the institution’s performance. The individuals indicated that new practices were needed to deal with similar never events.
Examining the Validity of the Presented Statements
The individuals at the meeting indicated that the sentinel event occurred because of inadequate staffing. However, it would be wrong to generalize and argue that inadequate staffing was the main cause of the event. That being the case, I would examine the validity of the presented statements by analyzing the facts of the event (Lord, 2013). The approach would make it easier for me to identify the major circumstances, malpractices, and gaps that might have led to the sentinel event. The next step will ensure the major factor responsible for the event is clearly understood. The approach will ensure the exact cause of the never event is clearly understood (Jebb et al., 2014). Preventive measures can then be outlined after completing the analysis.
Measures to Prevent a Recurrence of the “Never Event”
One of the most important things in every medical institution is to prevent sentinel events. However, this goal might be unattainable because such events are caused by a wide range of factors. As a health specialist, it will be necessary to implement new measures to ensure such a sentinel event does not occur again. The first measure is ensuring that every healthcare worker is aware of the needs of different patients (Schattenkirk, 2012). The approach will promote the creation of better healthcare delivery procedures for different patients. The second procedure is ensuring all medicines are labeled properly. The labeling approach should be by the targeted patients. Proper medical records will be kept to ensure the targeted patients take their medicines promptly.
The other useful strategy is empowering nurses to calculate dosages accurately. The nurses will be allowed to collaborate with their patients. The practice will play a positive role in averting similar errors. A multi-disciplinary team should be developed to provide quality care to different patients with critical health needs. Such teams will be comprised of caregivers, patients, and their respective family members (Schattenkirk, 2012). The practice will minimize most of these errors. The healthcare professionals in the organization should be equipped with relevant resources. The workers should be empowered using effective leadership practices.
Evidence-based approaches will be supported in the healthcare institution (Lord, 2013). Different healthcare workers will be required to engage in continuous learning. This practice will make it easier for them to acquire new concepts and ideas. By so doing, the caregivers will be able to monitor the outcomes of their clients. They will design new nursing philosophies in an attempt to address the needs of their patients. This approach will “ensure healthcare delivery is an ongoing process that is improved continuously” (Lord, 2013, p. 124). These measures will eventually minimize most of the never events experienced in the facility.
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Agency for Health Care Research and Quality. (n. d.). Never events. Web.
Jebb, P., Esegbona-Adeigbe, S., Justice, S., & Crumbie, A. (2014). Never say never event: Should unsafe staffing in hospitals be classed as a ‘never event’? Nursing Standard, 28(19), 28-29.
Lord, S. (2013). Are staffing levels adequate in your department: if not what are you doing about it? The Journal of Perioperative Practice, 23(6), 122-129.
Padhy, C. (2013). Total quality management: An overview. Srusti Management Review, 6(1), 119-124.
Schattenkirk, D. (2012). Building sustainable internal capacity for quality within a healthcare environment. TQM Journal, 24(4), 374-382.