Article By: Mark Williams, AWARE-NS Safety Collaborator

Change in practice will be required to decrease the risks associated with handling patients in healthcare settings. The organizations partnered to create a made in Nova Scotia provincial injury prevention program for healthcare agree; continuing with the status quo will not mitigate these risks or their underlying causes. The individuals working on the strategy provide passion and expertise. Focus has been maintained partly due to early work facilitated by co-sponsors of the initiative, Sheila Rankin (AVH) and Steve Ashton (IWK), in which guiding principles for the strategy were created. The guiding principles agreed upon were collaboration, integration, evidence based, sustainability, concurrent activities, and people centred/cost effective/resource wise:

  1. Collaboration

The DHAs/IWK commit to sharing tools, resources and best practices; commit to contributing to the planning, development, implementation and evaluation of this work; commit to working with all the relevant partners; key partners will be identified in areas where injuries are most prevalent and engaged as necessary

  1. Integration

In order to be successful, this work must be integrated in to how work is done, the values of the organization, the behaviours of the team members and all human resources management and learning and development practices. A musculoskeletal injury prevention program needs to be integrated within an injury prevention management and healthy workplace/organizational health strategy.

  1. Evidence Based

Literature, research and leading best practices will guide this work. The DHAs/IWK commit to sharing data necessary to benchmark, measure and monitor this work and an evaluation plan inclusive of process and outcomes will be key to success. Monitoring will include those measures that are impacted by injuries such as sick time and overtime, etc.

  1. Sustainability

This work will include strategies that will create a foundation of safety and ensure sustainability and system success. This will require the provision of tools, resources, equipment, learning and development and behaviours that are integrated with in the culture of the organization(s).

  1. Concurrent Activities

In order to achieve early success, concurrent activities will need to be identified with short, medium and long terms goals. Quick wins will be identified and implemented. A number of work groups may be required. Individual DHA/IWK work will continue however there must be transition to integrate the work of this project provincially.

  1. People Centred/Cost Effective/Resource Wise

The project will consider the workloads, health, safety and well-being of those completing this important work when all are being asked to do more with less. Those doing the work will negotiate needs as necessary, work in the most cost, time and resource effective manner as possible understanding that success is dependent on relationships, engagement and commitment. This initiative has potential for system wide change and those doing this work will require courage and honesty as well as a safe environment in which to share.
Engagement of the folks most impacted is critical to effect the changes required of the sector, organizations, and individuals. Therefore there is a focus on engagement that weaves the other 6 guiding principles together and is considered in every action taken by the working group.
Visit the Soteria website to learn more about this exciting project!

About The Author

Mark Williams, Physiotherapist, is currently the Project Leader for Soteria Strains, a provincial injury prevention strategy for Nova Scotia healthcare. Mark was seconded from Capital Health’s Injury Prevention team in March of 2013 to his current role. Prior to his two and a half years as Capital Health’s Injury Prevention Consultant Mark spent nearly a decade working in various private practice Physiotherapy settings including Team Leader for CBI Physiotherapy and Clinic Administrator (Manager) for HealthSouth, at the time the largest health care provider in the United States. He has always enjoyed integrating injury prevention consulting work with his busy practice and often speaks of his gratitude for the recent opportunities to focus on this important work fully. Mark has consulted with various organizations including the Halifax Shipyards, Department of Natural Resources and the Nova Scotia Truckers Safety Association.