In the spring, Children's launched a large training effort for all internal staff around preventable harm. The campaign is called Target Zero. The target being zero patient safety errors. It will take 18 months to train all staff. The Chief Quality Officer at Children's knows we would never leave Jacob completely in the care of the hospital staff. One of us will always stay with Jacob. He asked us if we were willing to share what patient safety means to us, and the fact that we never ever leave Jacob alone in the hospital. Children's interviewed us and created a video in the spring. It was not a hard topic for us to talk to considering how much time we have spent at the hospital.
As the training launched in the spring, we started to hear that staff loved the video. We talk about a medication error that happened to Jacob years back over Christmas, and the side effects Jacob endured. Jacob was sitting in between us throughout the whole video, so there was no question who the kid in question was.
By now, a majority of the staff at Children's has gone through the training and watched the video. Having spent four weeks at Children's in the last two months, we started to feel the impact of the video ourselves. We have become the Target Zero family.
"I saw you on the video. It was heartbreaking to hear what your family has gone through. I was ashamed of the harm that has happened to your son."
"Do you want to double-check Jacob's medications?" I know you have had medication errors happening to your son."
"I am going to give you the best care possible. I don't want anything to happen to your son again".
"I hope our team wasn't part of anything of the wrong doing".
We have become the face of patient safety to many. Due to Jacob being quite the frequent flyer, there is often somebody in the training room who actually knows us. They know that despite errors, we are highly committed to Children's. They know we always want to partner with Jacob's medical team, and make the hospital a better place for families.
During our last hospital stays, several nurses and doctors wanted to continue the safety discussion with us. We explained why we feel we as a family can add a layer of safety to Jacob by simply being in the hospital room at any given time. We are not the medical experts, but we are the experts on Jacob. We know what an elevated heart rate means for our boy, we know what can happen when Jacob spikes a fever, we know what it means when Jacob hasn't peed for a certain period of time, we know what is normal noisy breathing versus not, we know what is a seizure and what is not, and the list goes on and on. Jacob is often called a complex medical puzzle or a moving target by the attending docs. We feel if we can add our knowledge to the picture, Jacob will be safer. That is why we would never ever leave Jacob alone at Children's. It is not that we don't trust the staff, it is the fact that Jacob is too important to us to be the victim of a preventable error.
So as we continue to partner with the hospital, the goal is to make every family the Target Zero family.
Cheers! - Maria.