88th Inpatient Operations Squadron wins AF medical service award

  • Published
  • By Pamela Piccoli
  • 88th Medical Group Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- The 88th Inpatient Operations Squadron at Wright-Patterson Medical Center has earned the Best Inpatient Facility Patient Safety Program Award for its outstanding performance improving care procedures, the Air Force surgeon general announced recently. 

“Our inpatient squadron’s personnel provide 24-hour patient care, seven days a week, to many of our sickest and most-vulnerable patients,” said Col. Christian Lyons, 88th Medical Group commander. “This award recognizes the staff’s tenacity and focus of implementing the best health care practices, in the safest way, and with the most heartfelt delivery — to deliver healing, restore hope and drive meaningful outcomes for the patients we serve. Our 88 IPTS team is absolutely a shining representative of the trusted care that we provide to our beneficiaries each and every day.” 

The annual Air Force Medical Service awards are presented to both individuals and teams. They recognize exceptional Air Force programs focusing on efforts specific to patient safety, dealing primarily with the avoidance, prevention, or improvement of adverse outcomes or injuries stemming from the health care process. 

“It is truly a privilege to take care of our active-duty and retiree population that entrusts their care to us. Safety is important — for many of our nurses, it is their first assignment,” said Maj. John Smith, a clinical nurse specialist in the Medical-Surgical Unit. “Our staff members are sharp, so the potential for clinical growth is tremendous. We want to ensure that all protocols are sound and evidence-based. In that regard, we are able to render safe care that is current and based on national standards.” 

According to the award citation, 88 IPTS established a best-practice wound-care program for its intensive care unit and Medical-Surgical Unit.  

This nurse-driven program established wound-care protocols and treatment plans leading to a standard of practice that addresses the capabilities, roles and responsibilities of providers, allowing for the best patient care. 

Educating squadron nurses on the proper assessment, charting and basic treatment of wounds in order to prevent hospital-acquired pressure injuries in patients saved Wright-Patterson Medical Center $128,000 in outsourcing costs. 

According to the Health Services Advisory Group, hospital-acquired pressure injuries are defined as localized damage to the skin as a result of pressure or pressure in combination with shear. It can lead to substantial patient harm and staggering financial expense. 

Most importantly, the base hospital earned a rate of less than 1% on HAPIs, 88th Medical Group officials said. 

“Having a rate that low is outstanding,” said Maj. Genevieve Boldin, an ICU element leader. “It shows that the team, the care, the products and the staff education are working.” 

Another award-winning achievement by the unit was the refocus on and increased compliance for the patient-restraint program. Following a previous Joint Commission inspection that met with some challenges, a decision was made to educate the entire 88th Medical Group and all inpatient units utilizing restraints, bringing everyone up to par. 

Officials said this led to improvements in charting, note taking and documentation procedures, along with a newly revised 88 MDG instruction, which led to 100% compliance. 

“As medical professionals, it is our job and desire to give our patients the best and safest care available,” said Maj. Julie Tarr, an ICU clinical nurse specialist. “We focus on ways to reduce or eliminate hospital-acquired conditions by frequently assessing events that have potential to cause harm to our patients. We use resources and tools that are backed by evidence to guide our practice.  

“We also re-evaluate processes that we have in place and look for ways to improve upon them to achieve even higher standards of care.”  

Boldin said the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult on medical providers the past two years. 

“It has required us to think outside of the box on how to best maintain operations while keeping our focus on safety, both for the patients and the staff,” she said. “The mission hasn’t stopped, though. We are continually looking for ways to improve our processes and policies to keep up with current best practices and create the safest environments possible for each and every one of our beneficiaries and staff members.”