Riverside Walter Reed Hospital Focuses on Safety Improvements

March 21, 2024
RWRH Safety
Riverside Walter Reed Hospital (RWRH) has made numerous indoor and outdoor property enhancements in recent months to reaffirm its deep commitment to safety for patients, team members and visitors.  The changes began last spring after an unexpected medical emergency at the front of the hospital. In response, RWRH added an AED and a backboard at its main entrance vestibule for immediate access to potentially life-saving treatment.

But hospital leaders didn’t stop there. Instead, they closely examined the entire facility for potential concerns while inviting patients and team members to complete an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Safety Survey.

“We had extremely high participation in the survey, and we took all of that feedback very seriously,” says Shelly Johnson, RWRH President. “Everyone who turns to us for care — and who works in our hospital — deserves the safest possible environment.”  

Improvements for patient safety have included freshly painting curbs and other high-traffic trip hazards in a bright yellow; installing benches close to the entrance as resting spots during drop-off and pick-up, adding more handicapped parking spaces, and placing a traffic barrier near vestibule spaces to prevent a vehicle from accidentally backing into them. In addition, RWRH purchased new wheelchairs and repaired a low spot in the flooring in its main registration area, a former trip hazard. Patients also now fill out a questionnaire that asks if they can walk to the lobby or need a wheelchair due to their fall risk.  

For team members, RWRH has installed elevator badge access to restrict unauthorized entry into the MedSurg area. The hospital also now has just one ICU visitor entry point, with a doorbell, and is evaluating door closures in other corridors to limit unnecessary visitors. And for everyone, RWRH has four large signs — one for each patient and visitor access point — that indicate no weapons are allowed inside.

“We’re proud of what we’ve done,” Johnson says, “and we’re always open to more ideas to continue improving our safety culture.” To learn more about services at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital, please visit riversideonline.com/rwrh