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Stop the Line process designed to protect patients

Imagine yourself being tasked with administering a medication that you don’t think is right for your patient, being asked to transport a patient who seems suddenly too sick for transport or watching a patient in distress in the Operating Room. Would you speak up?

The answer, according to Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital’s new Stop the Line: Escalation of Patient Safety Concerns Process, is “Yes!”

“At Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, patient safety is our number one priority,” says Scott Schissel, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Medical Affairs. “Whether you work as a housekeeper, a nurse or a surgeon, if you see anything that causes you pause, it is your obligation to advocate for the patient. With this new policy, we aim to empower staff at all levels to do just that without any fear of retaliation.”

Under the new policy (formerly the Escalation: Chain of Command Process), all hospital employees, medical staff, students and volunteers have the responsibility and authority to immediately intervene to protect the safety of a patient to prevent a patient safety event and potential patient harm. It is the expectation that any person providing patient care will immediately stop and respond to the request to address the concerns raised. This is a proactive practice to speak up in advocating for patient safety and is applicable for all patients receiving hospital services.

“We understand that some staff members feel intimidated raising patient care concerns with a colleague they see as a superior,” says Cori Loescher, BSN, MM, RN, NEA-BC, Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Patient Care Services. “This policy is specifically intended to eliminate any anxiety by giving staff role-specific pathways to use to intervene if they need help or support speaking up.”

The pathways, outlined in the policy, include options for providers, nurses and non-nursing clinical area staff to “stop the line” and escalate a concern through the most efficient and appropriate channels.

“No one should ever be afraid to speak up when a patient’s safety is on the line,” says Dr. Schissel. “We work in a collaborative environment where we all play the role of patient advocate.”

To read the full Stop the Line: Escalation of Patient Safety Concerns Process, click here.

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