Surgical Teams Reminded To Ensure Patient Safety

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To encourage surgical teams to "take time out" before every operation to confirm correct patient, correct procedure, correct surgical site, and other important information to ensure patient safety, the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) is partnering with the Council on Surgical and Perioperative Safety (CSPS) and The Joint Commission to recognize National Time Out Day on June 18th.

AORN began sponsoring National Time Out Day in 2004 to raise awareness about the importance of requiring the entire surgical team -- including physicians, nurses and surgical technologists -- to pause (take time out) before all invasive procedures to communicate as a group and confirm key information about the patient and procedure to help prevent errors from occurring.

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The Joint Commission requires all accredited health care facilities to practice a time out as part of its Universal Protocol for Preventing Wrong Site, Wrong Procedure, Wrong Person Surgery. "Despite the widespread adoption of health care professionals taking time out, surgical errors like wrong-site surgery are still frequently reported in the United States and many perioperative professionals report the lack of a consistent approach to the Universal Protocol and the involvement of all relevant members of the OR Team," said Peter B. Angood, MD, vice president and Chief Patient Safety Officer for The Joint Commission.

"Just like a sports team huddles before a game to determine their game plan, OR teams need to take a time out before the procedure to review objectives, patient information, equipment readiness, supply availability and roles and responsibilities of each member of the team, said Jeffery Beutler, CRNA, MS, executive director of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) and chair of the Council on Surgical and Perioperative Safety (CSPS). "Surgical procedures performed under anesthesia are associated with the highest intensity level of care of any healthcare activity and necessitate the combined team effort of many highly competent individuals to be successful. By taking a time out, members of the perioperative team pause to ensure we are doing all that is necessary so our patients have the highest probability of experiencing the best possible outcomes."

The CSPS is a multidisciplinary coalition of professional organizations whose members are involved in the hands-on care of surgical patients, including AANA, AORN, the American College of Surgeons, the American Association of Surgical Physician Assistants, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the Association of Surgical Technologists and the American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses.

"By partnering with AORN on National Time Out Day, The Joint Commission and each CSPS member organization are demonstrating their dedication to the perioperative collaboration we hope to see among all OR teams," said AORN Executive Director Linda Groah, RN, MSN, CNOR, CNAA, FAAN. Groah encourages perioperative professionals to recognize National Time Out Day by reminding every member of the surgical team how critical it is to take a time out for patient safety.

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