HCA Florida Palms West Hospital earns ‘A’ grade for patient safety


HCA Florida Palms West Hospital has been recognized by a national organization for its achievements over the past year to improve patient safety.

The facility — which is just north of Wellington, west of Royal Palm Beach and southeast of Loxahatchee Groves — was the only hospital in Palm Beach County to receive an A grade in patient safety from the Leapfrog Group, which is in its 10th year of biannually ranking medical centers, hospitals and surgical centers.

“This distinction is a testament to the commitment that the people of HCA Florida Palms West Hospital have to the patients we serve,” Palms West CEO Jason Kimbrell said. “We want our community to know that when choosing a hospital for your family’s healthcare, Palms West is unmatched for its service, care and safety.”

Palms West Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jason Ouellette said the entire team is proud of their accomplishment as they continue to work to improve patient safety.

“As you can imagine, everyone in the organization contributes in some way to us achieving this milestone, and we are very proud of our team, and excited to celebrate this,” Ouellette said.

While Palms West received an A, most other hospitals in Palm Beach County received a B or, as in the case of Wellington Regional Medical Center, a C. Some hospitals, including Good Samaritan Medical Center and St. Mary’s Medical Center, declined to participate. To search for hospital grades, click here. Leapfrog releases grades each spring and fall. Palms West’s spring grade this year was a B.

Leapfrog evaluates hospitals using data and performance measures from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and its own survey. The patient safety grade represents how a facility keeps patients safe from preventable harm and medical errors, Palms West said in a news release.

The items that factor into a Leapfrog score include communication with patients, complications, hospital-acquired infections and falls in the facility.

When the hospital sent the news release when the grades were released in mid-November, my first question was, “Why is this important for families?” The answer: There are a lot of reasons parents should care about this grade.

When choosing a hospital, people expect to be cared for, treated for their illness and returned safely home, Ouellette said.

“When our staff, nurses, physicians come to the hospital, they have the same goals,” he said.

While no one can anticipate something like a fall or hospital-acquired infection, Ouellette said that the reality is these things do happen. Patient safety grades can help to provide peace of mind that a facility is doing everything it can to minimize harm, he said.

“We are proud of what we have accomplished at our hospital and the level of quality that we are offering the community that we care for,” he said. “We truly believe this is just the beginning of the journey for us.”

Among the improvements seen over the past year is a reduced number of falls by 40 percent from last year, including a reduction in the fall injury rate down to 1%, the hospital said.

Palms West’s patient safety director worked with nurse leaders and nurses to review and develop best practices around falls, Ouellette said. They reviewed fall alarm placement in all rooms, involved the rehabilitation team in how gait belts are used to assist patients, ensured fall risk assessments are done with safety measures put in place for patients, discussed fall measures in place for patients during daily rounds, audited call light responses, held a safety bootcamp for nurses and drilled into the root causes of falls, Ouellette said.

“We have seen a tremendous decrease in our number of falls over the past year, and most importantly, falls with injury,” he said.

The hospital also launched a new program called Make Safety Personal, which strives to keep the patient in the center of their care, said Ouellette.

“When we discuss events, it is important that everyone is reminded that behind every event and statistic, is a person with a story, with a family,” he said. “This adds to the impact of the action plan and why we do what we do.”

To check out Palms West’s full report card, including more about Leapfrog’s methodology, click here.

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