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Patient Safety Goals


Patient safety is important to everyone at MaineGeneral. The information in this section shows our response to national patient safety recommendations about policies and procedures designed to reduce the risk of injury or harm to patients.

These goals were established by The Joint Commission, the national accrediting body for hospitals and other health care facilities. They address problems such as medication errors, wrong-site surgery and other issues.

While these safe practices are not new to MaineGeneral, this section shows our progress toward establishing policies and having practices in place to address patient safety.
We also strongly encourage patients to take an active role in their health care. We want patients and family members to ask questions and to talk to us about safety concerns. 





In Progress


Not Started








Steps we're taking



Improve the accuracy of patient identification


Use at least two ways to identify patients whenever giving medicine, blood, taking samples or providing any test or treatment (never use patient room number).










Use a "time out" before all surgeries or other procedures to allow the team to make sure it is the right patient, right procedure and body part.








Improve the effectiveness of communication among caregivers


Write down and repeat back all verbal or telephone orders and critical test results.










Create and use a list of acceptable and approved abbreviations. Establish a "do not use" list.










By measuring and evaluating, improve the time it takes to get critical test results to caregivers.










Test results are reported as soon as possible to the patient's responsible caregiver.










Patient "Hand Off" Communications includes: situation; background; assessment; recommendations; and an opportunity to ask questions.








Improve the safety of using high risk medications


Standardize and limit the number of drug concentrations. Precautions are taken to prevent mix-ups with
look-alike and sound-alike drugs. All medication containers are labeled.








Eliminate wrong site, wrong patient and wrong procedure surgery


Use the pre-operative verification process.










Verify and mark the right site.










Use a "time-out" before starting procedure and a checklist.








Reduce the risk of health care-acquired infections


Use alcohol-based hand gels.










Prohibit artificial nails for direct patient caregivers.










Manage as sentinel events* all unanticipated deaths or permanent loss of function resulting from a health care-acquired infection.








Medication Reconciliation


Reconcile all medication orders with the patient's medication history from the last care setting.








Fall Prevention


Establish a fall prevention program that includes fall assessment and risk reduction strategies including protocols for transferring patients (bed to chair, stretcher to bed, etc.)








Suicide Risk


Assess patients with behavioral or emotional disorders for risk of suicide.



* A sentinel event is an unexpected occurrence involving death or the risk of death or serious physical or psychological injury. Serious injury includes loss of limb or function.

These events are called sentinel because they signal the need for immediate investigation or response.