Plain Language Overhead Paging

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The Recommendation. The Minnesota Hospital Association recommends hospitals reduce noise by minimizing overhead pages by using other means of communicating; and when possible use plain language with emergency overhead paging to align with its core principles of being transparent with patients and fa

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Plain Language Overhead Paging

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1. Plain Language Overhead Paging XX, XX, 2011

2. The Recommendation The Minnesota Hospital Association recommends hospitals reduce noise by minimizing overhead pages by using other means of communicating; and when possible use plain language with emergency overhead paging to align with its core principles of being transparent with patients and families and increasing patient safety by standardizing safety practices across hospitals throughout Minnesota. Based on the science of patient safety, variation can be a contributing factor that can lead to adverse events. MHA’s member survey indicated significant variation among Minnesota’s 145 hospitals, such as 22 different codes for patient abduction; 18 different codes for a security alert and code yellow had 5 different meanings. This variation creates confusion for the entire health care team.

3. Plain Language Principles This is a voluntary initiative. Each hospital should convene a team to evaluate use of plain language with overhead paging. Use of plain language will reduce confusion for health care professionals working in more than one hospital, which could otherwise lead to a potential delay in care or patient safety event.

4. Plain Language Principles This initiative is not meant to be prescriptive, rather suggested scripting is provided. Transparency with patients and families is a top priority of MHA and members. Use of plain language for overhead paging is consistent with this priority.

5. Plain Language Principles This initiative aims to reduce variation among all 145 hospitals throughout the state, including rural and urban. Minnesota’s approach aims to be as consistent as possible with bordering states.

6. What do Consumers Say? In a study of 322 consumers: 87% stated that patients and visitors should hear a fire announcement 94% stated that patients and visitors should hear a medical emergency announcement 67% stated that patients and visitors should hear a “person with a weapon” announcement

7. Consumer Survey Findings, cont… 90% stated that patients and visitors should hear a missing person announcement 94% stated that patients and visitors should hear a severe weather announcement

8. Consumer Survey Findings, cont… “If I were in the hospital I would rather know what’s going on than ‘not knowing.’" “It's best to be as clear and straight forward as possible.” “I’d like to know the emergency affecting me.”

9. Noise Reduction Excessive noise is a distraction that interrupts patient care and potentially affects patients’ well-being and healing. Some hospitals in Minnesota and around the country are taking steps to reduce unnecessary noise in their facilities. Some steps they are taking is to reduce overhead paging to an absolute minimum to reduce the negative effect it can have on patients and families.

10. Plain Language Overhead Paging Examples

11. Rapid Response Team “Rapid Response Team + Location”

12. Stroke Team Activation “Stroke Team + Location”

13. Fire “Fire Alarm + Location” (and as appropriate, action for patients, staff and visitors)

14. Severe Weather “Severe Weather + Descriptor” (and as appropriate, action for patients, staff and visitors)

15. Abduction/Elopement “Missing Person (of any age) + Descriptor” (and as appropriate, action for patients, staff and visitors)

16. Medical Emergency “Medical Emergency + Location” (and as appropriate, adult or pediatric)

17. Security Alert “Security Alert + Descriptor + Location” It is recommended that each hospital convene a team to evaluate what security situations would be announced overhead or if other communication methods would be used such as email or silent page. Show of force - facilities will need to determine at what point this situation would reach an overhead page or if it can be managed with other means of communication. Intruder - facilities will need to determine at what point this situation would reach an overhead page or if it can be managed with other means of communication. Bomb threat - facilities will need a process in place to determine a credible bomb threat and at what point the situation would deem an overhead page.

18. Disaster (Internal or External) “Internal/External Emergency + Descriptor + Activate Incident Command System” (if applicable) (e.g., Hazardous agent, mass casualty, biologic agent, evacuation, chemical spill, power outage, IT down)

19. Trauma Team Activation “Trauma Team + Location”

20. Implementation Plan for Hospital Organizational Awareness and Approval Documents and Materials Procurement Communication Plan Education and Training Plan

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