To make sure patients are safe, Mercy Medical Center has launched a new way to check on them.
The program, called Condition H, allows patients or family members to seek assistance for an immediate evaluation of a patient's condition, when the patient's health seems to be worsening.
"This is an additional layer of safety for our patients," said Rebecca Ables, director of obstetrical services at Mercy. "If something with a patient changes, it's an extra resource to get the proper people to the patient at the right time."
Ables said Condition H can be used inside the hospital in the same way calling "911" is used outside of the hospital.
The program is put into gear by someone calling the operator and identifying the call as a Condition H. The caller should tell the operator what the reason for the call is and what room the patient is in. The operator then pages the Condition H over the intercom, and a team responds.
Ables said the team consists of the lead nurse from the unit the patient is in, the intensive care lead nurse and a respiratory therapist.
Every patient admitted to the hospital will get a brochure about the program, Ables said. If the patient is unconscious or unable to understand the program, family members or friends will be given the brochure.
"We have been training our staff for about three weeks to get this process going," Ables said.
Mars Leffard, nursing director for the intensive care unit, said she believes the program will be good for both staff and patients.
"Patient safety is our highest priority," Leffard said. "This is an additional resource for the patient or family member if they feel urgency is needed, or if something just doesn't feel right."
The program went into effect Monday, and both Leffard and Ables said it will help everyone.
"I think it's a great program," said Ables. "We want our patients to feel safe and secure here."
"We need to recognize and respond to changes in a patient's condition," said Leffard. "This is a nationwide regulation, and it makes our patients our highest priority."
Reporter Carol Reiter can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.