· Identify and describe at least two competing needs impacting your selected healthcare issue/stressor. · Describe a relevant policy or practice in your organization that may influence your selected healthcare issue/stressor. · Critique the policy for ethical considerations, and explain the policy’s strengths and challenges in promoting ethics. · Recommend one or more policy or practice changes designed to balance the competing needs of resources, workers, and patients, while addressing any ethical shortcomings of the existing policies. Be specific and provide examples. · Cite evidence that informs the healthcare issue/stressor and/or the policies, and provide two scholarly resources in support of your policy or practice recommendations.
Competing Needs Impacting Healthcare Issue/Stressor
The selected healthcare issue/stressor for this assignment is the high incidence of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). HAIs are a significant problem in healthcare settings and can lead to increased morbidity, mortality, and healthcare costs. Two competing needs that impact this issue are the need for patient safety and the need for cost-effective healthcare.
Patient safety is a fundamental concern in healthcare. Providing a safe environment for patients is a primary goal for healthcare organizations. HAIs jeopardize patient safety by increasing the risk of complications and adverse outcomes. The need to prevent and reduce HAIs requires dedicated resources, such as infection control programs, education and training for healthcare workers, and implementation of evidence-based practices. These measures aim to ensure that patients receive appropriate care and are protected from preventable infections. Patient safety is a vital aspect of healthcare and must be prioritized to minimize harm to patients.
Cost-effective healthcare is another important consideration in the healthcare system. Healthcare organizations face financial constraints and must find ways to deliver high-quality care while managing costs. Cost containment measures, such as reducing the length of hospital stays or minimizing unnecessary interventions, are implemented to optimize resource allocation. However, some cost-saving measures may conflict with patient safety goals. For example, reducing staffing levels may lead to increased workloads for healthcare professionals, potentially compromising patient safety. Balancing cost-effectiveness with patient safety is a complex challenge that requires careful consideration.
Relevant Policy or Practice in the Organization
In the organization I am affiliated with, there is a policy for hand hygiene that aims to prevent HAIs. The policy requires healthcare workers to perform hand hygiene before and after patient contact, whenever hands are visibly soiled, and before invasive procedures. Hand hygiene is a critical component of infection control and is recognized as one of the most effective measures in preventing HAIs.
Ethical Considerations of the Policy
The policy on hand hygiene demonstrates a commitment to patient safety by emphasizing the importance of proper hand hygiene practices. Ethically, this policy aligns with the principles of beneficence and non-maleficence, as it aims to promote patient well-being and prevent harm. By implementing this policy, the organization shows its dedication to providing safe and high-quality care.
Strengths and Challenges of the Policy in Promoting Ethics
One strength of the hand hygiene policy is its clear and specific guidelines for healthcare workers. By providing detailed instructions on when and how to perform hand hygiene, the policy ensures that healthcare professionals have the knowledge and tools to practice proper hand hygiene. This clarity helps to promote ethical behavior by reducing ambiguity and providing a standard of care.
However, there are also some challenges associated with the implementation of the policy. Compliance with hand hygiene practices among healthcare workers can be variable and may depend on various factors, such as workload, time constraints, and individual beliefs. This raises ethical concerns, as non-compliance with hand hygiene practices can increase the risk of HAIs and compromise patient safety. Encouraging and ensuring consistent compliance with the policy is a challenge that needs to be addressed to promote ethical behavior.
Recommended Policy or Practice Changes
To balance the competing needs of patient safety and cost-effective healthcare, as well as address the existing ethical shortcomings of the hand hygiene policy, several policy or practice changes can be recommended:
1. Increased Resources: Allocate additional resources for infection control programs, such as funding for adequate hand hygiene facilities, education and training programs, and surveillance systems. This would support the implementation and enforcement of the hand hygiene policy and help improve compliance rates.
2. Staffing Levels: Ensure appropriate staffing levels to alleviate healthcare worker workload and prevent burnout. Adequate staffing promotes patient safety by reducing the risk of errors and infections associated with high workloads. It also supports ethical considerations by acknowledging the well-being of healthcare professionals.
These recommended policy or practice changes are based on evidence that informs the healthcare issue/stressor. Research studies have consistently shown that increased resources and adequate staffing levels are associated with improved patient outcomes and reduced HAIs (Lam et al., 2019; Stone et al., 2016). These changes would address the competing needs of patient safety and cost-effective healthcare while promoting ethical behavior and enhancing the overall quality of care.