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The uniform solution for patient safety

Patient Safety Awareness Week officially kicked off March 8 this year and is celebrated through March 14, but should remain a focus year-round. Most relate this week of recognition to slip-and-falls, but patient safety can also be directly affected by the uniforms worn by healthcare employees.  

All healthcare facilities deal with intrusions -- we hear stories of people impersonating environmental services staff members or patient transport staff members at acute and non-acute facilities, even surgery centers. By just putting on a pair of scrubs or a lab coat, imposters are gaining access to a resident’s room or a patient’s private residence, posing an immediate threat to the employee and patient.

Healthcare facilities now recognize how uniforms can help prevent such intrusions by outfitting their staff in a branded uniform program, making their garments unique and difficult for intruders to replicate. Along with a branded uniform program, a healthcare facility may also color-code employee uniforms based on their department or role. The differential branding by department makes it more challenging for trespassers to falsely impersonate a member of the staff.

This also provides patients with a better sense of security and comfort when they are able to identify which employees belong in their room or residence. A 2000 study conducted by J.D. Power and Associates confirmed that “uniforms could lead people to associate positive personal attributes such as credibility, trust and confidence with employees in uniforms.”

Introducing a branded uniform program is just one of many minor upgrades that could produce considerable improvements for patient safety at healthcare facilities.

Has your healthcare facility utilized uniforms as a tool to improve patient safety? If so, what specific improvements did you see?



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Fashion Seal Healthcare® has been providing uniform program solutions to the healthcare industry for over 97 years. We know that the uniform apparel industry is always growing with key players entering the market each day.

Outpatient facilities are often a part of a large hospital or IDN. In a way, an outpatient facility is an extension of a unified health system and therefore a representation of the health system's brand and image.