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Quality Care: What to Look For When Planning a Hospital Stay

Published on Jan. 18, 2021

Quality and patient safety is central to everything we do at Valley Children’s. But what does “quality” really mean when it comes to patient care during a hospital stay?

To many, quality might be measured by awards, medical research or even a summary of ratings and online reviews. While all of those things are important, “quality” in a hospital setting is actually measured by a variety of systems that anticipate and prevent a medical error before it causes harm to a patient. These systems follow six domains identified by The Institute of Medicine to ensure quality of healthcare: safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient and equitable.

According to The Leapfrog Group, a national organization that measures and publicly reports hospital performance, “more than 250,000 people die every year due to preventable medical errors.” A strong healthcare team has effective processes in place to reduce and eliminate infection rates, prevent mistakes and increase lines of communication between the entire care team and patient families. So it is important to know that you have a choice when it comes to the care your children receive.

If you are planning a hospital stay, consider the following:

  • Make sure that a hospital has all of the right resources for the condition you are seeking treatment for, such as equipment, space and properly trained staff.
  • Resources exist to help you choose the best care. Organizations like The Leapfrog Group provide hospital grades for healthcare systems that voluntarily share their data. While not all hospitals participate, do not hesitate to reach out and ask why.
  • Ask about systems that are in place to prevent medical errors. Measurable improvements make all the difference to providing the highest level of care. Through transparency, hospitals can achieve the best results for their patients.
  • Prepare to be part of the care team. A parent or guardian’s role is essential because no one knows your child like you do. Throughout your child’s treatment, ask about what you can expect, how you can help and what to do if you have a concern.

Valley Children’s is proud to have been named one of the nation’s Top 10 Children’s Hospitals in patient safety and quality of care. Our performance scores exceed national standards in areas including but not limited to, medication safety, patient and family communication, intensive care management, infection prevention, maternity care, inpatient care and pediatric care.

By involving everyone at Valley Children's – patients, families, doctors, nurses, support staff, visitors and volunteers – we are able to deliver quality care with measurable results and have great confidence in our systems for our kids.

Executive Director of Quality, Patient Safety & Medical Affairs