Awareness is perhaps the single most important word for good health care. Every person should be aware of their state of health. That’s why in March we picked some awareness weeks, focusing attention on two critical healthcare issues: patient safety and sleep.
Patient safety is one area of awareness that is drawing special attention as the pandemic continues to impact public health and safety. Within the healthcare community, patient safety is a discipline focused on delivering safe, quality essential health services while preventing and reducing risks, errors, and harm to patients.
One of the primary benefits of patient safety efforts is that they safeguard against misdiagnosis to ensure that patients are treated for the correct underlying condition — they help providers ensure they’re treating the root illness, not just a peripheral symptom or side effect. A patient safety program, such as the one here at Community Health Connections, helps ensure that all of our patients’ physical and emotional needs are taken into account to provide more effective treatment and better outcomes.
Nurses, physicians, and other healthcare professionals play a direct role in patient safety awareness in every healthcare organization. At Community Health Connections we take patient safety seriously at all points of care, ranging from diagnosis and medication administration to equipment sterilization.
Of course, patient safety is a team effort, requiring the active participation of both the patient and their healthcare providers. It’s crucial that patients take an active role in their own health and wellbeing by building a strong relationship with their care team. Patients should always feel empowered to speak up about their care and concerns, ask questions, and communicate what they are feeling, mentally and physically, so they can receive the most appropriate and effective treatments.
Good sleep awareness is a key component of good health
During National Sleep Awareness Week this month – and throughout the year – we encourage our patients to prioritize sleep as a key to improving general health and well-being. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends 7-9 hours of sleep for adults aged 18-64 and 7-8 hours for older adults aged 65 and over. Characteristics of a good night’s sleep include waking up feeling refreshed, alert, and able to be fully productive throughout your waking hours.
Not getting the restorative benefit of sleep when you give yourself enough time for sleep could be a sign of other issues and should not be ignored. Studies by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) have revealed that people who sleep poorly are at greater risk for a number of diseases and health problems. In the short term, a lack of adequate sleep can affect judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injury. In the long term, chronic sleep deprivation may lead to a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early mortality.
How well are you sleeping? Healthy sleep involves making the right choices to prioritize and protect sleep. According to the AASM, here are three keys to achieving and maintaining healthy sleep:
Most adults need at least seven (7) hours of nightly sleep for optimal health and productivity. Some people need more sleep to feel well-rested. Try to get seven (7) or more hours of sleep per night. Set a regular bedtime that is early enough for you to get a full night of sleep.
Sleeping seven (7) hours each night isn’t enough. You also need quality sleep. Avoid common sleep disrupters in the evening. These include alcohol, caffeine and tobacco. Talk to your provider if you are taking a medication that disturbs your sleep.
It also is important to sleep at the right time. Healthy sleep is part of the daily rhythm of life. Your body sleeps best at night when it is dark. It also functions best when you keep a regular routine. Try to wake up at the same time every morning, and go to bed when you feel sleepy.
While March has a focus on patient safety and sleep, these both affect a large number of health-related issues. It’s important to remember that overall health awareness at all times is crucial for maintaining good health for you and your loved ones. Make awareness of your health a priority every month and every day!