The Joint Commission provides safety recommendations for ASCs

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The Joint Commission posted safety recommendations and warnings for ASCs in a May 19 blog post. 

The guidelines were written by Elizabeth Even, MSN, RN, the associate director of clinical standards interpretation group for The Joint Commission. 

Here's what you need to know:

1. Ensuring a safe environment for staff is critical because of the important role they play in the ASC. Safety lapses also cause a financial toll on ASCs — in addition to suffering from scheduling crunches, ASCs can lose staff following workplace injuries. 

Common causes of staff injury in an ASC include:

  • Lengthy cases
  • Awkward postures
  • Sharp instruments
  • Heavy instrument trays 

2. Shortcuts to save time — like holding a patient for positioning during surgery instead of seeking an alternative — can lead to injured staff and steep costs. Needlestick and sharp injuries are also very common and occur at a higher rate in an ASC than other areas, Ms. Even said.

3. One area that is frequently assessed for risk is the physical environment of the surgery center. This includes environmental issues like handling hazardous materials and equipment maintenance, as well as fire drills and ensuring suitable lighting. 

4. Engineering controls can be highly effective while not affecting workflow or requiring any extra effort on the part of the ASC by ensuring that the environment is appropriately designed and maintained.  

5. Mental health also can be a risk for an ASC, especially during the pandemic. Ignoring or belittling co-workers, grueling scheduling and intimidation are all less obvious ways that may create a toxic work environment. 

6. The Joint Commission recommends looking at its ambulatory accreditation manual for more safety tips in regard to infection control, standards and elements of procedure and environment of care.

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