Challenges and Potential Solutions for Patient Safety in an Infectious-Agent-Isolation Environment: A Study of 484 COVID-19-Related Event Reports Across 94 Hospitals
Keywords:airborne precautions, droplet precautions, contact precautions, ergonomics, human factors, isolation design, isolation room, SARS-CoV-2, coronavirus, pandemic, patient safety, patient harm, risk mitigation
Previous research has shown that patients in infectious-agent isolation are at greater risk for certain types of safety-related events. We conducted a study to explore the relationship between the various types of events that occur in an isolation environment and the associated factors, which may have implications for the likelihood of the event and severity of patient harm. We conducted a query of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System (PA-PSRS) database to identify event reports submitted by acute care hospitals between January 1 and September 30, 2020. We identified 484 relevant event reports from 94 hospitals for inclusion in our descriptive study (excluding near-miss events). We measured the frequency of relationship between categories of safety-related event types and 18 categories of associated factors. Among the seven categories of event types, the most frequently identified were skin integrity (141 of 484, 29%), falls (129 of 484, 27%), and medication-related (78 of 484, 16%). Across all 18 categories of associated factors, which had or may have had an influence on the event type, the most frequent were patient’s mental status (80 of 484, 17%), staff’s time to don personal protective equipment (62 of 484, 13%), and patient’s interference with equipment/supplies (45 of 484, 9%). Overall, our results revealed that the frequency of certain associated factors varied considerably from one event type to another, which indicates that the relation between event types and associated factors should guide selection of risk mitigation strategies. We encourage readers to leverage our results along with Table 9, which provides a list of challenges identified in an isolation environment and potential solutions. We envision hospital staff proactively and systematically using the information in our manuscript to facilitate their evaluation of the isolation environment and prioritization of risk mitigation strategies.
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