Research for infection protection

World Patient Safety Day on 17 September 2021: safe from the first breath

World Patient Safety Day will take place again this year - as it has on each 17th September since 2015. On the day of action, which is also promoted as the global World Patient Safety Day by the World Health Organization (WHO), a wide variety of hybrid events and activities are offered, all with the aim of raising awareness for more patient safety. This year, the campaign runs under the motto "Safe from the first breath". The Aktionsbündnis Patientensicherheit e.V. (APS) - Patient Safety Action Alliance - provides numerous materials free of charge for both patients and health professionals, so that you and your institution can also take part, But what exactly does patient safety mean? The APS defines patient safety as the degree to which all stakeholders contribute to the rarity of adverse events, the promotion of safety behaviours, the management of risks, the recognition of safety as a desirable goal, the implementation of realistic options for improvement and the use of innovation skills to achieve safety. In order to achieve a high level of patient safety, it is important to avoid patient harm as far as possible. Of course, infection prevention has a central importance in this context, because nosocomial infections are still among the most common reasons for patient harm.

Safe from the first breath: focus on care for mothers and newborns

To ensure that all people enjoy a high level of safety from the moment they are born, everyone involved - patients, doctors, midwives, nurses, etc. - must work together. In addition to proper hygiene, comprehensible information and appropriate prescription of medicines, good and trusting communication at eye level is an absolute must. The importance of safe communication in avoiding adverse events around obstetrics is currently being investigated with the help of the TeamBaby project. Within the framework of this project, clinical staff as well as the expectant mother and her companions are trained to communicate safely with each other. In addition, an app will support communication and help overcome difficulties.

Patient safety also means: recognising sepsis in time

Patient safety is particularly important not only during birth, but also in the vulnerable period afterwards, because both new mothers and newborns have an increased risk of contracting life-threatening sepsis. Since sepsis still claims about 75,000 lives each year in Germany respectively, the World Patient Safety Day once again draws attention to the “Germany Recognises Sepsis“ campaign (Deutschland erkennt Sepsis) and raises awareness of the symptoms, which differ significantly in newborns from those of adults and older children. Incidentally, World Sepsis Day also takes place just a few days earlier - on 13 September.

Patient empowerment makes patients strong for their own safety

Patient Empowerment also contributes significantly to patient safety. Only well-informed patients have the necessary background knowledge to participate in decisions on their own health issues. Hygiene empowerment also includes knowing when to disinfect one's hands and how to handle wounds hygienically.

As we at HARTMANN also support patient empowerment, we provide, among other things, short and catchy training films about the subject of hand disinfection on the HARTMANN SCIENCE CENTER website. In addition, as part of our MISSION: INFECTION PREVENTION, we are committed to improving infection prevention now and in the future.  

In our first podcast about nosocomial infections, we talk to Dr. Tobias Kramer (Aktion Saubere Hände Germany), Professor Johannes Knobloch, Head of Hospital Hygiene at the University Medical Center Eppendorf (UKE) in Hamburg, among others. In addition, Vanessa Carter, who herself successfully fought a hospital infection with an antibiotic-resistant germ and now educates about antibiotic resistance, has her say.

However, a doctor-patient relationship on an equal footing and participatory decision-making requires not only the willingness of patients to become more involved, but also the willingness of health workers to allow and support this involvement - as is the case with the APS TeamBaby project.

Support the World Patient Safety Day on 17 September. Take part in one of the numerous actions and share your commitment to patient safety and patient empowerment under the hashtags #CleanHands, #Mission:InfectionPrevention or #PatientEmpowerment.