Hospitals are one of the top listed high-risk places of work. Just like any high-risk workplaces, Clinical Risk Management (CRM) procedures are formulated to enable hospitals in identifying, containing, as well as manage work related risks such as injuries, which are bound within the facilities. Implementation of element contained in risk management procedures in any hospital setting should be effected in order to ensure for the safety of both patients and workers accommodated in the facility.
Risk management is highly prioritized in most high-risk organizations. Technological advances have been realized in modern medicine progressively resulting to more complex care and treatment processes. Despite the positive result of leveraging care opportunities, such advancements may result in adversities that might in turn affect patients and staff working in hospital environments. Since it is far from possible to eradicate such risks completely, clinical risk management procedures are there to enhance the safety of the concerned individuals. Risk Management (RM) encompasses Clinical risk management (CRM) as its constituent that is mainly concerned with clinical processes. The risk of work-related injuries is discussed in this paper in details.
Work Related Injuries
The complex employment setting of a hospital environment provides a variety of jobs including laboratory work, patient care, waste disposal, pharmacy just but to mention a few. Such jobs constitute hazards realized within the hospital. Injuries risked at any hospital setting can be categorized into groups namely: biological hazards, chemical hazards, safety and ergonomic hazards, physical hazards, as well as psycho -- social hazards. Details are discussed in this contextual document.
This mainly constitute infectious agents (viruses, bacteria, parasites or even fungi) that are transmitted in the event of direct contact with patients that are infected with such. Contaminated instruments may also cause infection. Individuals that are work -- based in healthcare institutions are greatly exposed to such agents that lead to various biological hazards. Viruses such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Hepatitis B (HBV) are induced through blood or any other body fluids whenever there is direct contact with any form of body opening, even the inside of the mouth. Breaking one's skin using and sharps increases the need of bacterial and viral infections.
Job occupants in hospital settings work with numerous chemicals, which may be toxic to one's body system. Such chemicals may be medications or any other therapeutic substances and may exist as gases, liquids or even solid dusts. Contamination by chemicals may occur through ingestion of contaminated food substances, inhalation of chemical gases, and absorption of chemical liquids through the skin or even breaking the skin accidentally using a contaminated needle stick. Majorly, inhalation and skin absorption constitute the commonest entry routes.
Ergonomic and Safety Hazards
Such hazards lead to or even worsen accidents and any other form of injury that occur in the hospital environment. Ergonomics constitute the scientific development and application of tools, workstations and even the work content to boost the mental and physical capabilities of workers. Anticipation level of accidents and injuries while using procedures incorporating principles set by ergonomics is high. Safety risks include exposure to explosive gases, sharp instruments, slippery floors and cluttered hallways. Injuries such as cuts, bruises, and needle sticks are constitutes of the commonest risks realized. Improper workstation and design causes strain injuries, which are also caused using too much workforce in doing manual work and poor wrist and shoulder postures.
Examples of physical hazards that might cause injury to hospital workers include exposure to nuclear radiations, noise, heat, and even electricity. Diagnostic processes such as angiography and X -- ray are due to ionizing radiations, which have long-term effects on one's health e.g. genetic damage. Microwaves and lasers are examples of non-ionizing radiations, which mainly affect the skin and eyes. Regular exposure of workers to excessive heat can cause heat burns.
Psycho -- social Hazards
Many attributes can lead to undermining the social well-being of a health worker within a hospital setting. Such factors include very high job demands, poor ability of management, and shift working. An individual's biological clock is often disorganized by the event of rotating shifts. Other stressors can be coworkers or even managers, combative and terminally -- ill patients.
Managing Work -- related Injuries in Hospitals
Organizations dealing with health care should leverage participation of workers in making important decisions involving their daily lives at work and the organization itself. Employer-employee and affiliated conflicts should be effectively resolved to assist staff members respond positively to any changes and formulate social support systems to deal with conflicts that arise within the organization.
Minimizing exposure to any form of radiation can be done by considering measures such as minimizing exposure time and employing the use of appropriate shielding. X -- Ray equipment should be given special attention to prevent radiations from scattering during procedures. Workers using such equipment should be given proper training. Engineering control set aside to curb injuries caused by heat include reducing inside temperature, wearing protective clothing, which should be standardized and provided by the organization's management team. In addition, guidelines for performing work in hot or cold temperature environments should be administered to cut down injury risks and costs.
Comprehensive ergonomic strategies involving educating the vulnerable to back injuries and disability should be put in place to help curb occurrence of such injuries. Aggressive treatment of back injuries should be done early enough. Rehabilitation programs should also be establishes to monitor treatment procedures provided for the workers affected by injury and disability in the health care organizations.
Worldwide precautions should be formulated in any hospital or clinic setting in order to deal with the risks of working in any hospital or clinic setting. This will eliminate or reduce the risk of transmission of pathogens that are blood -- borne. Immunization against the common deadly and easily transmitted viruses such as HBV should be effected with health care job applicants who are at greatest risk. Precautions taken to address any biological risk injuries include cleaning, disinfecting objects, immunization, treatment of hospital effluents and proper laundry processing. Regular washing of hands is also a method of great importance in fighting the spread of infectious diseases.
Though exposure must not always lead to harsh health effects, chemicals worked with in any medical institution should always be considered and be treated as toxic. Frequent exposure of workers should be avoided through identification of the chemicals, measuring and identifying the toxic properties of chemicals and their health effects and finally implementing the set control measures.
Determination of Solution
The method used by the organization to determine the solution for work-based injuries is mainly evidence based. This constitutes the review of hospitalization data. In order to determine the mentioned solutions, the organization carried out an evaluation of the diagnostic procedures performed on the patients that reported such incidences. The evaluation is done using a standard mode of approach, which involves acquiring medical history and carrying out a physical examination. Functional assessment is employed for evaluation of workers that reported physical injuries, specifically, soft tissue injuries such as strains and fractures. Considering all the limiting factors, tests on the injuries reported are done to establish the link between the injury and the work place. Strict analysis of results of any evaluation carried out and prevalent as well as genuine injuries are documented. The necessary preventive measures and solutions established to curb such injuries are then recommended for immediate and effective implementation.
a) Laboratory reports
This method requires laboratories to be compliant with provision of test results for any reported injuries within the work place. This means of identification of solutions for work related injuries has its strong hold, in that there is a high rate of capturing the required information. This, however, is concentrated with those workers that are referred to the lab setting for testing. Despite its merits, a limitation to this method comes in that it is hard to recognize meaningful issues that might be covering large populations. Using lab reports as a method of surveillance adds strength the chances for detecting resurgent issues.
b) Prerequisite Reporting of Injury by Healthcare Providers
This approach concentrates on using clinicians and other health providers as a source of recognition of injuries and diseases at a work place. For most organizations that utilizing this method, experience a problem in low compliance levels. The low levels of compliance is influenced by the fact that there is always the perception of for whom the data is being collected. Mandatory reporting by healthcare providers is not only useful to the concerned organizations, but also to the public health authorities as it alerts them on the event that a server disease sprouts.
c) Mandatory injury reporting by employers themselves
This is almost similar to the previous approach only that the place of health providers is taken by employers who participate in the mandatory reporting. It is more concerned with reporting work place injuries compared to the other variable that is diseases. The…