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Safety Huddles

In sports, teams have huddles to strategize. At Stony Brook University Hospital, our care teams have huddles, too. At SBUH we have two forms of Safety Huddles: One of is conducted every day, twice a day, this the “Unit Based Safety Huddle”.  

The purpose of the Unit Based Safety Huddles is to increase safety awareness among our front-line nursing staff and to identify ways to help ensure that safety measures are in place at all times for all of our patients. 

Each member of each care team at Stony Brook University Hospital, regardless of the shift they are working, is responsible for the wellbeing of every patient on each unit. Whether it’s discussing equipment issues, a medication concern, special visitor requirements, or which patients are on alert for falls, our nursing staff and nursing leadership use the information to plan interventions to increase safety for our patients. Every 12 hours, the team gathers together to listen, learn, and provide solutions to specific concerns and problems that have been identified. The lessons learned from these safety huddles are then recorded and reviewed at weekly team meetings. It’s just one of the many ways we serve as safety advocates for our patients. 

We also conduct Daily Hospital Safety Huddles. These are 15 minute stand up meetings of hospital leaders and key team members designed to raise awareness of safety issues. They occur Monday through Friday at 8:45 in the morning. A prescriptive template is used to aid reporting and keep the meeting to the 15 minute time limit.

We report on three categories of issues: A look back at the last 24 hours for reporting any safety or quality issues, a look ahead at the next 24 hours for any anticipated issues, and a report of follow up on previous identified issues.

This forum allows us to “Start the clock” on fixes for defined safety issues, or “Stop the clock” to prevent errors.

The focus is on patient safety and staff safety. The highly structured process allows us to focus on systemic issues, direct follow up and drive accountability. The goal is to create high reliability relating to safety.