Cultivating a culture of safety at Runnymede Healthcare Centre


Safety is a fundamental aspect of high quality healthcare.Runnymede Safety

To achieve the best possible clinical outcomes for patients, Runnymede Healthcare Centre cultivates a culture of safety that focuses on continuous quality improvement.

The hospital is dedicated to implementing a number of practical initiatives that are based on leading practices to not only enhance patient safety and overall satisfaction, but contribute to the quality improvement of patient care and services, and allow the organization to sustain a just culture of safety that promises better patient care.

Public reporting

Enhancing patient safety is about creating an open environment that is committed to change and continuous improvement. To support these efforts and promote transparency and accountability, Runnymede publicly reports on a number of core patient safety indicators recommended by the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA).

These include avoiding falls, hand hygiene compliance and the rate of healthcare associated infections (HAIs), such as C. difficile. A leader in safety—as evidenced by the hospital’s recent achievement of a four-year Accreditation with Exemplary Standing rating from Accreditation Canada—Runnymede recently incorporated four additional patient safety indicators for complex continuing care (CCC) and rehabilitation facilities into its Quality Improvement Plan (QIP): pain, worsening pain, the rate of urinary tract infections (UTIs) and the use of physical restraints.

Falls prevention

According to the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO), one in three seniors experiences a fall each year, with over 50 per cent of them developing serious injuries as a result. In the last quarter, individuals over the age of 65 made up 89 per cent of Runnymede’s patient population. To reduce the risk of patient falls and fall-related injuries among this at-risk demographic, a Falls Prevention Program was effected at the hospital. The program utilizes a Falls Risk Assessment Tool to evaluate patients that are at risk of falling and develop an individualized care plan that focuses on prevention strategies to increase safety and build awareness about falls prevention. Specific falls prevention interventions include placing regularly used items within reach, clearing rooms and hallways of hazards, and ensuring patients are equipped with proper fitting, non-slip footwear. On average in the past year, only 6.5 per cent of the hospital’s patients fell during a 30-day period. This is significantly lower than the 11 per cent average reported by peer hospitals in the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (TC LHIN), demonstrating the success of Runnymede’s falls prevention efforts.

Executive Patient Safety Walkabouts (EPS-Ws)

On a monthly basis, Executive Patient Safety Walkabouts (EPS-Ws) are conducted by a member of the senior leadership team. The EPS-W involves touring an area where patient care is provided—for instance, on the units or in the physiotherapy gym—and engaging frontline staff members in a discussion about how safe they feel their work environment is. In addition to encouraging staff to share concerns and/or offer suggestions for improvement, the dialogue aims to identify any obstacles that exist that may prevent the delivery of reliable, high quality care.

Quality Improvement Forums

At Runnymede, excellence is the driving force behind decision-making, clinical practices and quality of care. The hospital’s relentless focus on excellence and going above and beyond the call of duty ensures patients continue to receive the best possible care at the bedside. To identify additional ways to improve safety on the patient care units, staff members from various clinical disciplines come together to hold Quality Improvement Forums every month. Fostering a dialogue about patient safety among frontline staff not only reinforces the interprofessional team dynamic that exists among the clinical disciplines, it also ensures the team is directly involved in the decision-making process and transformation of care at the hospital.

Patient identifiers

Before performing a medical procedure or providing any treatment, such as administering medication, it is essential to confirm a patient’s identity. Every healthcare professional at the hospital is responsible for checking a minimum of two patient identifiers to verify identity and ensure the appropriate treatment is being provided to the right patient. Acceptable patient identifiers include the name on a patient’s identification bracelet, the photograph in a patient’s chart and the patient’s date of birth.

The hospital’s commitment to putting safety and quality first, and adopting leading practices to improve patient outcomes, speaks to the exemplary care that is provided to patients on a daily basis. By continuing to build on the hospital’s existing organizational culture of safety, Runnymede ensures that every patient experience is a safe one.