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  • Writer's pictureKBM

Do I Need a Risk Assessment?

More than likely, if you are asking this question regarding an established practice, you do need a risk assessment (RA). This assessment will help identify steps within your process that may compromise points within your care that affect patient safety. The RA also will also help you determine why a process is broken and what you can do to mitigate actions until an evidence-based end state is reached.

Throughout the process, you will constantly re-evaluate and update your RA. Often, you will hear a risk assessment is a "living, breathing document". This means it should be updated often as applicable. For example, it is recognized that you need to move from manual high level disinfection to an automated process because of increased patient load and the competencies involved with manual processes. You review for evidence-based practices through guidelines from SGNA or AORN. As you place orders for your machines, educate staff etc., your RA should be updated.

The introduction of The Joint Commission Leadership Chapter provides an example of what may be in a proactive risk assessment. This is one approach. Your organization should adopt a basic risk assessment process. There are many different formats for different processes such as for infection control, facilities, and ligature risks. Contact your quality and accreditation staff to see what processes and forms are already in place. If you do an assessment for your area or process, share it with those offices to keep on file.

Risk assessments are focused on patient safety.

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