Sentara Commitments: Always Listen and Respond to You
When an 81-year-old lady and her two dogs were brought in to the emergency department at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital from a Dunkin’ Doughnuts earlier this year, the busy atmosphere took on a “CSI” feel. The patient was confused, injured and had no identifying information with her.
“Working in the ER can be a detective game. We get patients who can’t speak for themselves,” says Katie Arnold, the charge nurse in the Emergency Department that day and a 10-year Sentara employee. Arnold and other team members simultaneously assessed the patient’s health while trying to discover her identify.
“I knew her family was probably worried sick about her,” says Arnold.
The only clue Arnold had was a couple of words the patient had uttered to several rescue crew. Not knowing if it was the patient’s name, or even if it was a first name, last name, etc., Arnold began doing a search in Sentara eCare®, Sentara’s electronic medical record and eventually found a match of the words the patient mumbled.
Thanks to eCare®, a driver’s license photo was available from a previous visit to Sentara. Arnold enlarged a copy of the driver’s license photo and went to the unknown patient’s bedside. In what’s known as “Universal Protocol” in patient safety circles – Arnold asked her co-workers to help her confirm – and they all agreed the photo matched the patient.
Arnold was able to reach out to the elderly patient’s family with next of kin info from the patient chart. Without the eCare® record and photo ID available, it would have taken much longer to identify the patient and the police may have had to step in.
“Katie was calm, cool and collected,” says Linda Carter, who was so impressed with Arnold that she submitted the story to the Sentara Today blog.
“I saw critical thinking, problem solving, attention to detail, questioning attitude, the Sentara Commitments and in particularly the value of eCare® that day,” says Carter.