Quality and Safety

Patient Safety Measures

Patient safety is focused on the prevention of errors and adverse effects to patients that are associated with health care. Fort Washington Medical Center has established a strong commitment to Patient Safety and Quality. The Patient Safety plan is designed to align with and support our mission, vision, and values and is integrated with quality and performance improvement activities. The philosophy at the core of FWMC’s Patient Safety Plan is that all staff and providers are responsible and contribute toward patient safety. We aim to provide safe, high-quality care for our patients by adopting evidence based practices and continuously monitoring the effectiveness of these practices on safety outcomes.

Our performance with eight (8) major patient safety areas are outlined in this section of our website.

Major Patient Safety Areas

Surgical Site Infections

A surgical site infection is an infection that occurs after surgery in the part of the body where the surgery took place. Surgical site infections can sometimes be superficial infections involving the skin only. Other surgical site infections are more serious and can involve tissues under the skin, organs, or implanted material.Fort Washington Medical Center is very proud of its low surgical site infection rates.

Healthcare Associated Infections

Modern healthcare employs many types of invasive devices and procedures to treat patients and to help them recover. Infections can be associated with the devices used in medical procedures, such as catheters or ventilators. These healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) include central line-associated bloodstream infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, and ventilator-associated pneumonia.Fort Washington Medical Center strives to prevent these infections because they are a significant threat to patient safety. In 2017, we had just one healthcare associated infection.

MRSA Infections

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics and can cause a variety of problems ranging from skin infections and sepsis to pneumonia to bloodstream infections.Fort Washington Medical Center’s prevention efforts were effective as we had zero (0) hospital acquired MRSA infections in 2017.

C.diff (Clostridium difficile) Infections

When a person takes antibiotics, good germs that protect against infection are destroyed and during this time, patients can get sick from C. difficile picked up from contaminated surfaces or spread from a health care provider’s hands. Those most at risk are older adults and people who have other illnesses or conditions requiring prolonged use of antibiotics. Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI) caused by the germ C. difficile, was estimated to cause almost half a million infections in the United States in 2011, and 29,000 died within 30 days of the initial diagnosis. Fort Washington Medical Center was successful in reducing its incidence of hospital acquired C.diff infections from five (5) in 2016 to just one (1) in 2017.

Hand Hygiene Rate

Practicing hand hygiene is a simple yet effective way to prevent infections. Cleaning your hands can prevent the spread of germs, including those that are resistant to antibiotics and are becoming difficult, if not impossible, to treat. On any given day, about one in 25 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection.Fort Washington Medical Center has worked diligently to promote awareness of the importance of hand hygiene and was successful in increasing compliance from 72% at beginning of 2017 to 89% at year end. The goal for 2018 is to increase compliance and sustain at greater than 90%.

Fall Rate

Falls are a common and devastating complication of hospital care, particularly in elderly patients. Epidemiologic studies have found that falls occur at a rate of 3-5 per 1000 bed-days, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality estimates that 700,000 to 1 million hospitalized patients fall each year. More than one-third of in-hospital falls result in injury, including serious injuries such as fractures and head trauma. Death or serious injury resulting from a fall while being cared for in a health care facility is considered a never event.

Fort Washington Medical Center identified concerning trends with the inpatient fall rate data in 2017. The fall rate was above benchmark in seven out of 12 months of 2017 and was higher than previous year. A Fall Prevention team was formed to assess the problem and develop action plan.


  • Each patient is assessed for risk of fall and preventive measures are implemented
  • Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy consults are performed for at risk patients who meet criteria
  • Staff ensure that the environment is safe, free of clutter and potential fall hazards
  • Inpatient pharmacist and providers that review, modify medications and medication combinations that could potentially contribute to a fall
  • Innovative patient care beds that are equipped with technology to alarm/alert when at risk patients are exiting the bed
  • Conduct Fall Safety Rounds on patients and care providers to assess fall awareness, implementation of interventions for at risk patients and provide education
  • At risk patients are adorned with visual cues and signage for all caregivers to be aware of their fall status
  • Interdisciplinary Falls Committee reviews and analyzes outcomes and makes recommendations for further improvement

Hospital Acquired Pressure Injuries

A pressure injury is localized damage to the skin and/or underlying soft tissue, usually over a bony prominence or related to a medical or other device. The injury can present as intact skin or an open ulcer and may be painful. The injury occurs as a result of intense and/or prolonged pressure or pressure in combination with shear. The tolerance of soft tissue for pressure and shear also may be affected by microclimate, nutrition, perfusion, co-morbidities and condition of the soft tissue.

Hospital-acquired pressure injuries result in significant patient harm, including pain, expensive treatments, increased length of institutional stay and, in some patients, premature mortality. It is estimated each year more than 2.5 million patients in U.S. acute-care facilities suffer from pressure ulcer/injuries and 60,000 die from their complications.

Reduction of hospital acquired pressure injuries was a focus for Fort Washington Medical Center throughout 2014 and 2015 and since then the hospital has sustained success with prevention and had zero (0) hospital acquired pressure injuries in 2017.

Transfusion Compatibility Reactions

Fort Washington Medical Center has instituted safety processes and controls designed to prevent the occurrence of transfusion compatibility reactions.

Hear it from Our Patients

Jody Beard has suffered from knee pain for many years. Not anymore, thanks to knee replacement surgery through the Fort Washington Medical Center Joint Replacement Program.
This surgery has changed my life. I no longer lay on shopping carts for support or agonize when walking on concrete. After two knee replacements, now I am all over the place. I’m walking around the school where I work without pain. My granddaughter says I don’t walk like a penguin anymore. I have my surgeon and the FWMC staff to thank for that!
~ Jody Beard