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Quality and Clinical Excellence

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Healthcare That Is Safe
Patient safety permeates every aspect of the healing culture at Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s. Because the staff understands that the smallest of errors can impact a patient’s health, they focus on safety every day, in every encounter with every patient.

The Safety Coach Program is one example of our many safety initiatives that identifies potential problems before they occur. It empowers staff to become safety stewards and it demands accountability to ensure that safety issues are resolved. More than 150 trained Safety Coaches are now modeling error-prevention behaviors and providing real-time feedback to help work teams and individuals continually expandDaily Check-In Staff their patient safety awareness.

Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s also started the Daily Check-In, a system-wide, patient safety initiative that uses daily question and answer sessions to improve communication at both the unit and leadership levels. At the start of each shift, team members meet to discuss each of the high-risk patients staying in the unit as well as any unusual or complicated procedures that have been scheduled. The staff identifies and discusses any potential situations or distractions that may occur during the day, and addresses all safety-critical issues requiring a rapid response. At the leadership level, the Daily Check-In allows team leaders to meet and discuss potential problems that could arise throughout the system that day and assign ownership to resolving potential safety issues.


Healthcare That Is Safe
Caring For Our Communities
June 20, 2010, began as a day of celebration for the Leskow family. Mom, Tracy, was scheduled to be induced at Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Women’s Hospital. She and her husband, Richard, had six children – five girls and one boy. This seventh baby – a boy – would be born on Father’s Day.

“Everything went along like we thought it would. They started the Pitocin and broke my water,” Tracy remembers.


But after that, her memories are not clear. Tracy began coughing, struggled to breathe, and in seconds, lost consciousness. Amniotic fluid had seeped into Tracy’s blood stream creating an extremely rare and often fatal condition. Her nurse, Amy Fowler-Farrell, didn’t hesitate. “I pushed the emergency button. I needed as many hands as possible in there.” More than a dozen doctors, nurses and staff mobilized - delivering the baby in moments and stabilizing Tracy. The next few moments were surreal.

“It was like something you see on TV,” said Richard. “Nurses and doctors running everywhere. And I’m standing there in shock, like… what am I supposed to do?”

The team at Tracy and Richard’s side knew exactly what to do.

“We actually drill for this,” said Gail Ostrander, Executive Director of Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Women’s Services. Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s is one of five Ascension Health sites awarded a grant from the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality. “This grant allows us to educate and train our team through protocols and a state-of-the-art simulator. The ultimate goal is to improve patient safety.”

Tracy’s case put that training to the test.

“Everybody had a job they were doing. It was an amazing sight,” said Dr. Cindy Palabrica, Tracy’s obstetrician. Dr. Palabrica delivered all of the Leskow’s children at a different hospital, but thought baby seven needed to be born at Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s. “The experience of the staff that’s here is far and away superior, and I thought that she would be in very good hands here.”

The Leskow’s call that recommendation a blessing, “I just feel like it was a calling,” said Tracy. “They saved my life. And my baby.”

“The experience of the staff that’s here is far and away superior, and I thought that she would be in very good hands here.” – Dr. Cindy Palabrica, Tracy’s obstetrician



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