Safety Expo an important learning opportunity

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A Safety Expo was hosted at the Cypress Regional Hospital on Sept. 13, with displays intended for both healthcare workers and members of the public.

Health care professionals from across the Southwest along with community members gained some new insights into the continued importance of safety during the Safety Expo hosted at the Cypress Regional Hospital on Sept. 13.

A variety of displays and equipment demonstrations provided a closer look at how the healthcare system has improved safety for both patients and healthcare workers. An estimated 300 Health Region employees plus another 100 members of the public dropped in during the 11 hour event.

The theme of the the expo was "staff and patients working together for our safety," with the event delivering an important message to all those involved in healthcare.

"We realize that we need our staff and patients to work together to have a safe work environment and a safe place to come for healthcare. A lot of the education that staff do, we realize that the public should be aware of it. There's things the public can do too to make them aware of the safety things that are required in healthcare," explained Jill Gates, Patient Safety/Accreditation Coordinator for the Cypress Health Region.

"The two definitely go hand in hand," pointed out TLR Coordinator Joanne Therrien. "If you don't have your workers putting into practice safe practices then obviously we put patients at risk. Our goal obviously is to have zero injuries to clients and our workers."

Displays showcased equipment such as patient lifts, bariatric beds, Broda chairs, and other equipment, while information was also shared on infection control and public health, the upcoming influenza campaign, and surgical improvements.

For healthcare workers, having a strong turnout helped organizers share information on a wide range of topics.

"Some of the comments that we've had is some of the staff didn't realize what some of the projects and safety initiative that we were actually doing in our health region," Gates said.

"So this kind of event provides not only the public and patients, but our staff with some additional knowledge. They can personally enhance their skills, knowledge, in some areas," Therrien commented. "That was one of our goals was to ensure that not only was this open to staff but to the general public, and throughout the health region."

From a public perspective, the Expo gave a glimpse into the advanced, well-thought out equipment and practices in healthcare.

"I think a lot of the public don't realize the training that staff actually have to go through," Gates said.

The debut Expo in the Cypress Health Region was hosted in 2011, with that event directed specifically to the people in the health region who are trainers. Last year's event was an education day to enhance their personal skill, with those employees then sharing that knowledge with their fellow workers.

"So we took that excellent concept that they had and we've expanded it now and that's kind of how we got our theme, staff and patients working together for our safety. It's not just for staff and it's not just for patients. It's everybody working together," Gates said.

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