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The Key Factors that Put Patients at Risk

Discuss about the Report for Patient Vulnerability in the Operating Room.

Perioperative environment is indeed challenging both to the patient and nurses in Australia. As primary health care providers, nurses have to deal with diverse patients with individual uniqueness that might require a lot of attention to handle. Worse still, perioperative nurses have to endure serving chronically-ill patients whose encounter with them might expose them to serious dangers such as disease infections. On the other hand, patients face the challenge of exposure to medical risks (Amrock & Deiner, 2014). However, this can be addressed if he nurses take measures to engage in rigorous assessment to evaluate the patients’ conditions; adopt a collaborative approach; and effectively communicate with one another to help in managing the transition process in the pursuit of quality care. This paper presents an in-depth and critical analysis of the challenges facing nurses and patients as well as identifies the key positive strategies that can be applied by the nurses in the reduction of the patient vulnerability and risk in perioperative settings in Australia.

As Cousley ardently put it, perioperative environment poses a great challenge both to the patients and nurses. The patients who go through surgical operations are vulnerable to a wide range of risks. Surgery is a long process that involves different procedures. When a patient is brought to the operation room, the patient has to undergo through the prerequisite perioperative stage that exposes them to these risks.

Lack of Safe Care

Another challenge faced by the patients in the operation room is lack of safety. Although patients should be served in a safe environment that can make them feel comfortable and satisfied with the level of services rendered, this does not always happen. On several occasions, the safety of the patients is compromised in many ways. The first threat to perioperative patient safety is lack of effective communication system. Since surgery is a tedious process, it involves the input of different specialists-nurses, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and surgical assistants. Each of these experts is trained on different areas. Therefore, to deliver quality care to the patient, each of these experts should effectively communicate with one another (Rowley, Van Poperin, Everett, Stommel & Lehto, 2014). This can give them an opportunity to share ideas, consult and make important decisions regarding the patient. However, this does not always happen because of communication breakdowns. Whenever it happens, the patients’ safety is jeopardized because the providers cannot manage to deliver the right type of care required.

Positive Strategies that Nurses use to Reduce Vulnerability and Risk in Perioperative Settings

Gaps in the communication system in the operating room can also result from poor record keeping system. A well-organized health care system should have a coordinated information system. Meaning, no health care provider should fail to access up dated records of the patients before performing any procedure. Unfortunately, patients’ information is not always made available for the access of all the health care providers. Should this happen, the safety of the patient is threatened because health care providers do not have adequate verbal, written or electronic information about each patient (Ivarsen, Asp & Hjortdal, 2014). It should be noted that communication breakdown is disastrous in the perioperative environment since it denies the providers an ample opportunity to effectively adopt a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach that heavily banks on effective communication system amongst the concerned specialists.

As already hinted, surgical operation is a lengthy process that involves a lot of stages, each of which require different kinds of specialists to handle. It is therefore important if the health care providers involved in each of the stages effectively handle the transition process. This is the only way through which the patients can smoothly transition from perioperation stage to operation and post-operation stages which also play a significant role in the recovery of the patient (Mijderwijk, Stolker, Duivenvoorden, Klimek & Steyerberg, 2016). Although this is what should be done, there have been cases in which the transition process has not been properly handled thus making the patient vulnerable to lots of challenges.

One of the challenges faced as a result of poor transition is medical errors. Once the pre-operation stage is not handled well, the surgical team responsible for the patient is likely to err. Defective transition can be a major cause of medical errors that might be done by the health care providers in charge of the perioperation services. This is necessary because of the complexities in the perioperation services (Cousley, Martin & Hoy, 2014). Without having a proper knowledge of the re-operation assessments, the practitioner might make a wrong guess that can only harm the patient. The situation can be worsened if handling an elderly patient diagnosed with a multimorbidity condition that requires a lot of attention than anticipated. Any small error made can expose the patient to serious dangers because it might complicate the situation as the patient is already battling different chronic diseases.        

Positive Strategies that Nurses use to Reduce Vulnerability and Risk in

Perioperative Settings

Perioperative risk has been a major challenge in many health facilities across Australia. Despite spending a lot of resources in streamlining health care system, the patients are still at risk because of the preventable challenges. Many patients have suffered or lost their lives as a result of the risks undergone at the operation room. The buck stops with the nurses who are bestowed with the responsibility of providing quality primary care to the patients (Cousley, 2015). Therefore, to ultimately address the challenge, the paper presents the following recommendations:

Nursing assessment is a key aspect of perioperation care that should not be neglected at whatever cost. When a patient goes to the health care facility to seek for surgical services, it is necessary not to begin serving them without carrying out a proper assessment (Morello, Lowthian, Barker, McGinnes, Dunt & Brand, 2013). To do so, a nurse should create enough time to assess the patient’s records to gather all the necessary information that can be relied upon while serving the patient (Black, 2013). A part from analyzing the patient’s records, the nurse should observe the patient and engage the patient or their carers on a one-on-one interview in which the nurse should ask all the necessary questions that can help in understanding the patient. Otherwise, without the prerequisite assessments, it might not be easier for the nurse to know anything about the patient.

Nursing assessment is very important because it can help in understanding the medical, social and economic background of the patient. These are important information that can help the nurse to make reasonable decisions regarding the patient (de Rooij, van Munster & de Jonghe, 2015). Besides, nursing assessment can be an instrumental tool in identifying the needs of the patient before taking the necessary measures to meet them. All professional nurses should acknowledge that they are serving a multicultural society in which there are different kinds of patients with unique needs (Oresanya, Lyons & Finlayson, 2014). Therefore, to address the unique needs of each of the patients, the nurse should carry out an elaborate and objective assessment on the patients. This can be a better tool in delivering individualized patient-care service to the patient.

Moreover, the assessment can help in evaluating the patient’s vulnerabilities and all the factors that might expose the patient to risks during operation. The knowledge of the risk factors is a better step in the treatment of the patient because it can enable the nurse to ascertain the kind of safe activities to perform during operation so as not to expose the life of the patient to unnecessary risks (Dawe, Pena, Windsor, Broeders, Cregan, Hewett & Maddern, 2014). However, without such knowledge, it might not be easy for the health care providers to determine how to lessen the risks and deliver high quality services to the patient no matter how serious or complex the condition might be. So, when a nurse is committed to knowing what risks that might occur when a patient is taken for operations, it is necessary to perform a well-organized assessment.   

Last, but not least, nursing assessment should be given a priority before availing the patient to the operation room for surgery because it can play a significant role in identifying any serious issue that might need an immediate redress. For example, when the nurse identifies that the patient has a serious problem with nutrition; it might require an immediate attention because it should be treated as a matter of urgency. This implies that nursing assessment is very important tool that should not be left by any nurse who is committed to preparing a patent for a successful surgical operation (Chow, Rosenthal, Merkow, Ko & Esnaola, 2012).  It can be a key factor in addressing immediate and long-term needs that require the attention of the specialist right before, during and after surgery.

The challenge of communication breakdown in the operation room can be amicably addressed by applying the principles of interdisciplinary approach. On many occasions, medical mistakes have been committed during surgery as a result of poor communication system among the involved specialists (Kaukonen, Bailey, Suzuki, Pilcher & Bellomo, 2014). However, to address this challenge, it is necessary to instill a spirit of effective interpersonal communication amongst the nurses, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and surgical assistants who are charged with the responsibility of overseeing the pre-operation, operation and post operation activities.

Effective communication can help to bring together all the specialists and enable them to share ideas, consult and refer cases whenever necessary. To avoid any cases of misunderstandings that might be experienced, the providers should collaborate and schedule for meetings right from the time when the patient is admitted to the facility. Here, important information should be shared amongst the specialists to help in analyzing the situation and laying out strategies on how to effectively handle the patient without any mishaps (Oresanya, Lyons & Finlayson, 2014). Apart from engaging in meetings, the specialists should ensure that adequate information about the patient should be passed from one person to another through a written document, electronic source of verbally. To do so, the specialists should be ready to operate as culturally-diverse professionals who can tolerate and collaborate with anyone regardless of their diversities.

This strategy can be useful in managing the transition process of the patients. Once a patient has been admitted to the perioperation room, the patient should be properly handled by a nurse who assesses the conditions and medical history. From here, the patient should be referred to the specialists for the subsequent anesthesia and surgeries (Rowley, Van Poperin, Everett, Stommel & Lehto, 2014). After a successful surgery, the patient should proceed to post operation stage in which additional care is provided to monitor the recovery process. To achieve this, the providers need to collaborate with one another.

Conclusion

Whenever a patient seeks for medical care, they look forward for a quality health care. However, this does not always happen because of the myriad of challenges faced. This justifies why the patients looking for perioperation services are not exempt from experiences that makes them vulnerable to medical risks. During surgery, a patient is taken through painful procedures like anesthesia, electroencephalogram, and blood drawing.  These procedures make the patients vulnerable to anxiety because they are perceived to be disturbing. However, to address these challenges, the nurses should be prioritize the requisite patient assessment, adopt a collaborative approach and properly handle the transition process. These can help in creating a good environment for the delivery of safe quality health care services to the patients. 

References

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