Seattle Children’s Hospital identifies racial differences in infection and safety responses

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As part of its recently released Health Justice and Anti-Racism Action Plan, Seattle Children’s Hospital has identified racial and ethnic differences that exist in its practice, including infections in certain IV techniques, as well as in a protocol that is used to keep patients safe to promote.

The action plan comes after public backlash about how the organization’s administration and board of trustees have hidden the results of an independent review of the organization’s workplace culture for racial and ethnic equality.

The document sets out goals such as increasing “workforce diversity by race / ethnicity to 40% to further reflect the patient population” and measures to improve training on equality, diversity and inclusion for multiple levels of workforce.

It also addresses a plan to dismantle the “Code Purple” system that was used to call patient safety.

“We recognized inequalities and revised our policies and processes in January 2021,” said Seattle Children’s spokeswoman Jennifer Morgan. “We decided to completely redesign our processes and use a design process that involves patients and families.”

Morgan said it was impossible to speculate on what the team will design. She said her goal will be to embed psychosocial / de-escalation expertise in the clinical areas that can more proactively work with patients, families and staff.

The plan also identified goals to reduce the disparities in central blood circulation infections associated with certain types of IV fluids in “non-English-speaking patients and black / African patients”.

“We have inequalities in our bloodstream infection rates associated with the central bloodstream. Over the past year we have measured how we maintain our lineages by race, ethnicity and language, ”said Morgan. “To this day there are no differences in the maintenance of the lines. We are working to identify additional strategies that will eliminate these differences, with a focus on our Black and African American patients. ”

For several weeks, Seattle Children’s did not respond to multiple requests for the data used to identify these disparities, which would also have revealed the extent of their existence, despite their stated goal of “reporting on anti-racism and equality, diversity and To reshape inclusion efforts ”. and commit to quarterly reports. “

“Creating a plan does not make an organization anti-racist. We recognize that Seattle Children’s is not an anti-racist organization now, but we make a commitment to our employees, patients, families and the community that it will be, ”said Jeff Sperring, CEO of Seattle Children, in the preface to the action plan.

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