Our quality and safety | Chris O'Brien Lifehouse

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If you’ve got some feedback about your experience at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, we want to hear it. Contact our Director of Clinical Operations on (02) 8514 0690, fill out this form or email feedback@lh.org.au.

Chris O’Brien Lifehouse aims to provide uncompromising care in a safe, comfortable and caring hospital environment. We seek to constantly improve patient care, which is at the heart of everything we do.


Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is committed to patient safety and the ongoing improvement of patient care and has a comprehensive quality and safety program.

To help our patients make an informed decision about their care we share information about our quality and safety outcomes. We have chosen to publish a range of measures which provide information about our performance in providing safe, quality healthcare. These measures were selected because they form part of a set of key clinical indicators outlined in the National Safety and Quality Healthcare Standards developed by the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Healthcare.

Accreditation is an important driver for safety and quality improvement. Through accreditation our hospital has been able to assess our level of performance in relation to established national and international standards and implement ways to continuously improve.

Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is fully accredited with the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS).

Hand Hygiene

Hand hygiene is a term referring to any action of hand cleansing which, when performed properly, results in a reduction of micro-organisms on hands. To prevent and manage healthcare associated infection the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has nominated hand hygiene as an area of high priority for practice improvement by all healthcare workers.

Chris O’Brien Lifehouse participates in the national hand hygiene strategy through Hand Hygiene Australia. This program is based on the consistent application of the ‘five moments’ for hand hygiene and involves either hand washing with soap and water or with an alcohol containing hand sanitiser at the following times:

Before touching a patient
Before a procedure
After a procedure or body fluid exposure
After touching a patient
After touching a patient’s surroundings

Trained hand hygiene auditors regularly undertake observational audits of our staff at work to assist in the ongoing improvement in this important activity.

2019 Audit 1

What we are doing to improve Hand Hygiene compliance

Hand washing practice is observed by our Gold Standard Hand Hygiene Auditors 3 times per year for staff compliance with the 5 moments of Hand Hygiene and information collected through these regular audits is used to improve the training of hospital staff.

The results of these audits have improved each year since Chris O’Brien Lifehouse first opened in 2015

How you can help

Hand washing is essential for controlling the spread of infection and for patient safety. You can reduce the risk of spreading infection by:

Observing hospital signage about hand hygiene. There are hand sanitisers throughout the hospital. If you are unable to find a hand sanitiser station, please ask staff for assistance
Washing your hands carefully with soap and water or using hand sanitiser upon entering and leaving the hospital
Washing your hands carefully with soap and water or using hand sanitiser when entering and leaving a patient’s room

To best protect everyone, we recommend that you regularly use the available hand sanitiser while in the hospital.

Staphylococcus Aureus Bacteraemia

Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is committed to reducing the risk of healthcare associated infections. These are infections that occur as a result of healthcare interventions and are caused by micro-organisms such as bacteria and viruses. They can happen when you are being treated in a hospital, in a GP clinic, at home, in a nursing home, or other healthcare facility.

Healthcare associated Staphylococcus aureus is an important measure of the safety of a hospital and the aim is to have as few occurrences as possible. Performing hand hygiene is recognised as one of the most effective ways to minimise the incidence of Staphylococcus aureus.

What we are doing to minimise the risk of healthcare associated infection

Chris O’Brien Lifehouse has a comprehensive infection prevention and control program which includes:

Giving antibiotics only when necessary to minimise the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria
Adhering to formal hospital-wide hand hygiene practices
Strict requirements and processes for room and equipment cleaning
Wearing gowns and masks to prevent the spread of known infections to other patients
How you can help

Hand washing is essential for controlling the spread of infection. There are numerous hand washing facilities for use by the staff, visitors and patients throughout the hospital wards and patient accommodation. In addition, alcohol hand sanitiser is readily available throughout the hospital, at the end of each bed, and outside each room.

Some simple guidelines you can follow to reduce the risk of infection include:

Washing your hands before and after meals; after using the toilet or after touching body fluids
Using a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
Practicing good personal hygiene including covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and wash your hands afterwards
Asking your visitors to wash their hands or use the hand sanitiser when entering and leaving your room
Discouraging your visitors from sitting on your bed
If you are a visitor to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse:
Do not visit the hospital if you are unwell, have a cold, are vomiting, or have diarrhoea;
Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser before visiting and before going home from the hospital;
Avoid bringing too many visitors at any one time to visit someone;
Be careful not to touch dressings, drips or other equipment around the patient;
Do not sit on the patient’s bed.

Preventing Pressure Injury

A pressure injury is a localised area of damage to the skin or underlying tissue caused by unrelieved pressure or friction that can occur in people of any age. A pressure injury can develop in the hospital environment or at home, particularly when the person is bedridden or has limited ability to move or change their position (in bed or sitting in a chair), has loss of sensation, or poor nutrition.

To prevent pressure injuries at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse we use pressure relieving devices for those most at risk of acquiring a pressure injury; conduct daily skin assessments and check on patients hourly to encourage or assist them to change position, as appropriate.

What we doing to prevent pressure injury for patients in our hospital
We have a structured, pressure injury prevention program to reduce the risk of patients developing a pressure injury while they are in hospital, which includes:
Assessing every patient on admission to identify those at risk of developing a pressure injury and identifying pre-existing pressure injuries
Implementing appropriate pressure prevention strategies, reminding patients to change their position when checking on patients hourly, using a planned position change regime, or using a pressure relieving mattress on their bed
Regularly assessing the patient’s pressure injury risk status throughout their admission, informing the patient and their carers of the patient’s risk status and explaining the prevention strategies that are put in place
How you can help
Know your risk for pressure injury. You can be at risk of pressure injury if:
You are confined to bed or a chair and unable to move yourself independently, or you have limited movement
You have loss of sensation or poor circulation
You have skin that is frequently moist due to perspiration, or loss of bowel or bladder control
You are malnourished
While you are in hospital:
Ask questions about your care so that you can understand your treatment plan and what to expect
Keep as active as possible and change your position frequently, whether you are lying in bed or sitting in a chair. If you are unable to move yourself, the nurses will help you to change your position regularly
Talk to your nurse, doctor or physiotherapist about what activity will help your recovery. A referral to a physiotherapist can be organised for you while you are in hospital
Look after your skin. Keep your skin and bedding dry. Let staff know if your clothes or bedding are damp
Tell the staff if you have any tenderness or soreness over a bony area or if you notice any reddened, blistered, or broken skin
If your skin is dry, use a pH neutral soap
Eat a balanced diet. If you are concerned about your nutrition, ask the nursing staff to organise a visit by a hospital dietitian

Medication Safety

Medication Safety plays a key role in hospital care and focusing on improvement in this area is an important part of wider quality and safety improvement programs.

There is increasing knowledge on how to improve medication practices and it is important for hospitals to be aware of these measures so they can avoid medication errors.

What we doing to prevent medication errors for patients in our hospital

Chris O’Brien Lifehouse has a comprehensive medication safety program which includes:

Adhering to medication management policies
Regular staff education
Involving the patent and their family in development of the best practice medication history

Medication is an important part of your treatment. When you come to hospital, we will ask you about the medicines you take. Please tell us if you are using:

Tablets from a pharmacist or supermarket
Liquid medicine, e.g. cough syrup
Natural therapies such as herbs and tinctures
Vitamin supplements
Medicated creams
Eye drops
You can help ensure safe medication use by:
Bringing all of your medicines to hospital with you
Keeping an up-to-date list of your medicines and showing it to our staff when you come to hospital
Letting the staff know if you have had any allergies or bad reactions to medicines in the past
Knowing the name of each of your medicines, what it is for, how it should be taken and any side effects. This is especially important for any new medications
Asking what medicines you’re receiving and why ensuring you receive an updated list of medicines with information about each – what it is for, how to take it and any side effects to look out for before you go home
Understanding which other medicines, foods or drinks to avoid when taking the medicine.

Preventing Falls

Falls are the most common cause of injury in hospital and can delay your recovery. Falling over is more likely in hospital because you’re in an unfamiliar environment and may be physically weaker than usual.

What we doing to prevent falls for patients in our hospital

Chris O’Brien Lifehouse has a falls prevention program which includes:

Conducting a risk assessment on every patient when they first come into hospital and every time their condition changes
Ensuring that appropriate equipment is available and used to reduce the risk of patient falls
Education for all staff on appropriate strategies to be implemented to prevent patient falls
It’s important that you, your family and staff all work together to reduce the risk of falls by:
Making sure you can reach the call bell beside your bed
Using the call bell to ask for help whenever you need it
Calling for help as soon as you can. We will try to answer it immediately but if the ward is busy, it may take a few minutes before a nurse can get to you
Wearing supportive, flat, non-slip shoes or slippers
Bringing your walking frame or stick, glasses or hearing aids to hospital and keeping them close to you
Turning the light on so you can see before getting out of bed
Walking and staying active when family, friends and staff are there to help you
Listening to the advice and recommendations of staff – recovering from illness or surgery takes time, and you might need more help with walking and getting to the bathroom than you realise

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