Even the best Ambulatory Surgery Centers face moments of adversity. Some of these may be adverse patient events, negative publicity, or a serious illness or loss by a staff member that impacts the team. While some adverse events aren’t under anyone’s control, others may need to be handled appropriately by management to minimize the ripple effect of negative outcomes. When adverse events occur, your ASC's recovery will hinge on several factors, including the resiliency of your employees and how your facility handles these events internally.
Being Prepared for All Types of Adverse Events
No one can predict what kinds of negative events might impact an ASC (Covid-19 certainly taught us that!). This is part of what makes an adverse event so disruptive. When something bad happens that’s unexpected, it can throw your entire staff off-balance. To recover successfully, there are some crucial steps to take.
Whenever something negative happens in your ASC, morale may drop as each employee processes the problem in their own way. Overthinking, worry, and defensiveness may all be part of the mix. Be sure you take the time to boost morale at staff meetings and during day-to-day operations. While you must address adverse events honestly and openly, you also need to remind your ASC team that they are still vital to your ASC's success and that there are many positive outcomes to be celebrated. Congratulate your staff on their accomplishments and recognize those who come forward to help. Praise and encouragement are critical at this time.
Encouraging a Team Approach
When an adverse event affects your ASC as a whole, you run the risk of team members turning on each other in an effort to defend themselves. If a patient is injured or new protocols weren’t followed, take the time to remind your staff members that the best way to avoid future incidents is to back each other up and provide a strong safety net rather than placing blame.
Making an Adverse Event a Learning Opportunity
Rather than looking for a scapegoat, treat an adverse event as a learning opportunity. If the finely-tuned machine of your ASC had a breakdown in communication or a missed step leading to a patient issue, use it to illustrate to your staff what could have been done better to handle the situation (without any shame or blame for those who made an unintentional mistake). When you analyze what happened and offer ways to improve outcomes in the future, you give your staff valuable tools for improved future results, which will alleviate their worries.
Don’t ignore mental health issues. If your ASC or any of your employees is going through a crisis that has a negative impact on your clinic, offer counseling services through a trusted provider. Staff members can find relief from stress and sorrow through appropriate counseling. Putting things into perspective with professional guidance will ensure your staff can weather the storm and continue to perform their tasks with dedication.
No ASC can go unscathed by adverse events. The way you handle them is what may set your Ambulatory Surgery Center apart from others. Facing the issues squarely, providing support and guidance, and moving on without ignoring the problem will all help your ASC recover from adverse events.
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