CHICAGO, IL-A non-profit consumer organization, 21st Century Consumer, has created a user-friendly, in-room kit to help patients and their families understand the care they are receiving and the hospital staff providing it. The kit contains easy-to-follow charts and the hospital's quality pledge listing steps that the hospital and staff will take to ensure the patient's safety. Two guides are also included in the kit. One of the guides overviews major treatment procedures like surgery. The other guide has been integrated into the discharge planning process and covers care at home following hospitalization. Clark E. Kerr, President of 21st Century Consumer, explained that, "To date, most patient safety initiatives have focused on applying technology or developing safer processes for the delivery of care. We are focusing on the role of patients and their families as partners with healthcare professionals....contributing to their own safety during and after a stay in the hospital."
The kits will be introduced for pilot testing in two California hospitals in July and will be available for preview at the upcoming National Patient Safety Symposium in Dallas at the end of June (see related story posted May 25, 2000).