Ensuring Safety In Addiction Treatment For World Patient Safety Day

Patient safety is one of the most critical factors in ensuring effective medical care. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as health care systems across the globe become more complex, there is a resulting rise in patient harm.

World Patient Safety Day, on September 17th, was established by WHO’s World Health Assembly in 2019 to bring a global focus and commitment to patient safety.

Because the addiction rehab process often requires a lifelong commitment from the patient, a safe, caring environment is essential for success.

What Is World Patient Safety Day?

According to WHO, World Patient Safety Day represents global action in support of one of the most foundational principles in medicine: “First, do no harm.”

It aims to achieve this by uniting everyone involved in a patient’s care, from the patient and family members to medical care providers and government officials, to make safety a priority.

Through its 194 member states, WHO’s World Health Assembly chooses a different theme each year based on current trends in the field.

WPSD is one of WHO’s nine days and two weeks established as official global public health days.

Others include World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day on January 30, World Health Day on April 7, and World AIDS Day on December 1. 

What Is Patient Safety In Health Care?

Due to unsafe care, more than 134 million adverse events, contributing to 2.6 million deaths, happen in low- and middle-income countries every year, according to WHO.

This is why patient safety must be a global health priority.

Some of the objectives of World Patient Safety Day include:

  • reducing and preventing diagnostic errors and medical errors, injury, and other preventable harm to patients
  • improving the overall quality of care for patients
  • strengthening global solidarity in proper health care
  • ensuring respectful childbirth practices

Theme For 2022: Medication Safety

This year’s World Patient Safety Day theme is “Medication Safety.”

The theme was chosen in part due to the negative effects that the COVID-19 pandemic had on the healthcare industry. 

Many healthcare workers have experienced burnout during the pandemic. Mistakes are more likely to happen when there is a shortage of trained personnel to provide proper care.

In addition to the pandemic’s effects on patient safety, WPSD 2022 aims to bring global awareness to the following to reduce medication-related harm:

  • polypharmacy (using multiple medications at the same time)
  • look-alike, sound-alike medications
  • transitions of care
  • high-risk situations

Programs such as Drug Take Back Day (October 29, 2022) follow similar themes of medication safety, ensuring expired or unused prescriptions are properly disposed of.

Past Themes

Past themes for World Patient Safety Day include safe maternal and newborn care, health worker safety, and overall patient safety.

WHO reports that, through investments in providing quality care during and immediately following childbirth, more than three million women and children’s lives could be saved every year.

This is an example of the critical need for increased patient safety around the world.

Patient Safety In Addiction Treatment

Patients receiving treatment for drug addiction require compassionate understanding and a high level of personalization from their care team.

This includes things like separating men and women during treatment and providing safe spaces for people who share similar life experiences, such as survivors of physical abuse. 

Mental And Emotional Health

Many people experience difficult emotions like guilt and shame when seeking addiction treatment. They might also experience turbulent ups and downs.

Receiving care without judgment is essential for a full recovery. It is especially helpful if care providers can recognize the courage it takes for patients to seek and accept care.

The care team can also provide help with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues that often co-occur with addiction.

Many treatment centers provide telemedicine services, which are an excellent outpatient option for those who feel safer receiving help from home.

Physical Health

If detox is required as part of your or your loved one’s treatment plan, having a care team that is well-prepared to offer medical assistance will help ensure safety and success.

They can respond if the patient is experiencing convulsions, hallucinations, or other dangerous conditions that may occur when detox is severe.

The care team can also determine if medication would be helpful during the detox process and for the duration of treatment.

Because suicide from overdose can be a risk among those living with addiction, care teams should also be trained in recognizing associated risks and behaviors.

Ways To Get Involved In World Patient Safety Day

WHO will host free webinars and other events prior to and on September 17 to raise awareness of patient safety issues and share its commitment to reducing avoidable harm.

Register to take part in WHO’s “Medication Without Harm” global virtual event on September 15. Geneva’s famous Jet d’Eau will be lit up orange on September 17 to commemorate the day. 

The International Alliance of Patients’ Organizations offers dozens of ways to get involved, such as by using official hashtags and tagging on social media.

Resources For World Patient Safety Day

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the top federal agency for research in patient safety, offers plentiful patient safety resources, such as toolkits and training guides, for healthcare professionals.

Check out WHO’s Patient Safety webpage for resources like patient safety curriculum guides, fact sheets, information on past and upcoming events, and more.

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Keep Reading:


Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality – Patient Safety

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – FindTreatment.gov Treatment Options

World Health Organization – World Patient Safety Day 2022

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

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This page does not provide medical advice.