World Patient Safety Day and 10 Questions a Neuro OT Should be Asking Themselves
What are the 10 safeguarding checks neuro occupational therapists should be making on World Patient Safety Day?
Surprisingly, the checks don’t focus on patients or clients this year but, rather, the health workers who care for them – including neuro OTs!
With health risks heightened by the current Covid-19 pandemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO), which heads the campaign, wants all health workers to ensure they’re keeping themselves safe too.
So here are 10 self-protection questions, based on WHO’s advice, that all OTs should be asking themselves today:
- How is your physical health?
- How is your psychological health?
- Are you and the people you care for safe?
- Are you up to date with health and safety training?
- Are you aware of infection prevention and control and able to implement appropriate measures?
- Are you confident that you’re sufficiently knowledgeable, skilled and competent in health care safety?
- Do you know your rights and responsibilities surrounding a safe work environment?
- Do you know the correct process of reporting safety issues?
- Do you promote and implement innovative safety practices at work?
- Are you proactively contributing to building and strengthening a safety culture at work?
The Royal College of Occupational Therapists is also keen to ensure instinctively altruistic OTs are looking out for themselves.
With echoes of ‘physician, heal thyself!’, here are some of its own self-care suggestions:
- Stick to a routine! It’s as important for you as it is for your client.
- Keep active! Any OT worth their salt knows the value of this in reducing stress and increasing energy levels.
- Go outside everyday: it’s a no brainer but just remember social distancing.
- Sort out your sleep hygiene: is your bedtime routine relaxing? Are you avoiding stimulants such as coffee and are you keeping to a sleep schedule?
- Eat well and drink lots of water.
- Stay connected with family and friends: video messaging has become the new norm amid Covid-19 but it’s not just for keeping in touch with clients!
- Stay focused on things you can control.
- Limit time spent digesting the news or discussing the pandemic.
- Find time every day to switch off and relax.
- Slow down: use quiet moments to enjoy the normal, the small and the everyday.
- Create ‘me time’: what do you love doing or what would you like to try?
- Help someone outside of work: helping is good for our wellbeing.
PPE and empowerment
World Patient Safety Day this year isn’t just about raising awareness of the importance of health worker safety and, thereby, patient safety.
It also aims to recognise the dedication and hard work of health workers, particularly amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In support of this, WHO is also calling on all private and public sector organisations to ensure they too are doing everything they can to protect health workers, including:
- Ensuring provision of appropriate and sufficient PPE and hand hygiene items.
- Increasing staffing levels and creating the means to empower health workers.
- Co-designing safety programmes with other professionals.
- Implementing ethical principles that include the duty to protect health workers’ and patients’ safety.
Further RCOT self-care tips for OTs can be found here: https://www.rcot.co.uk/your-health-and-wellbeing-during-covid-19-crisis