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    Why every clinic needs a sound safety plan

    Planning, preparation vital parts of an effective training protocol for when an emergency arises

    Take-home: Having an emergency-response plan for the clinic is a must. Here are some tips to develop an effective safety plan.

    Putting It In View By Dianna E. Graves, COMT, BS Ed

    Let’s set the stage: You’re halfway through a long week. It’s a normal day, no sick calls, everyone’s where he or she should be, and the morning is half-over. Two of your physicians with high-patient volumes are through the bulk of their mornings, and lunch is only an hour and a half away.

    Then someone calls out: “I need help—call a code!”

    And the rest of the morning quickly goes into a vortex of motion, controlled chaos, and the impending aftermath.

    I have been in this field 30-plus years and have experienced more curves in the day than I can recount. However, I have to say those three words—“Call a code!”—are the scariest words one can yell in a clinic. Similar to yelling “Fire!” in a darkened, packed movie theater.

    If you’ve never had one in your clinic, a code is a universal word meaning that a patient is having a medical crisis involving no pulse or breathing. This isn’t a seizure or a vasovagal response episode.

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    In other words, someone is most likely dying in your clinic. And you have little time to rally the team to get an emergency response in motion. Less than minutes!

    The time for rallying the team should have been the months and years of continual training and re-training provided to them prior to this incident in times when it was calm. And then you did it again and again, routinely.

    I think back to when I worked at the hospital. One fearful disruption to our world was the periodic JCAHO (the Joint Commission was formerly the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations [JCAHO]). This was a time to defend, articulate, postulate, and discuss your battle plan contingency for chaos.

    “But, I have no chaos in my clinic. I have a peaceful clinic, mild-mannered doctors, and consistent staff and schedule. Just an everyday clinic,” you might be thinking.


    NEXT: In the event of emergency

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