Truman VA ensuring safety on their new inpatient surgical facility

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COLUMBIA - The Truman VA ran safety drills on its new surgical inpatient facility Thursday.

Staff practiced reading the automatic vital sign monitors and getting patients to and from the new bed lift system.

"One thing you don't want to do in health care, is to go into a situation and have to use a piece of equipment you've never seen before," said Chief of Staff Lana Zerrer.

She said the drills are necessary for the success of the facility.

"Simulation and practice is critical," Zerrer said.

Many of the simulations are high risk. Zerrer said they help the staff be tested in a safe environment where they can learn and make mistakes.

"If we simulate, then they've practiced it already, they know how to respond, and they feel safe in practicing those responses," Zerrer said.

The VA uses simulations at all of its facilities.

"We prevent issues before they occur," Zerrer said.

Army veteran Marion Bales had surgery in the old facility. He said seeing the staff go through exercises, provides him comfort.

"I'm sure everybody here gives the patients as much time and attention as they can deserve for it, it means a lot," he said.

Zerrer said the new automatic vital monitors will help staff respond to potential problems much faster. The vitals get uploaded to a database that can be accessed from almost anywhere, cutting down paperwork and making doctors more mobile.

The database also has early warning system, which alerts staff of potential dangers.

"If the patient is deteriorating, it allows us to respond more quickly," she said.

The pride of the new facility is its updated lift system. The Truman VA is one of  few hospitals with a lift in every single room.  

“Those lift systems make it so that patients can be lifted more safely out of their beds, which is a safety feature not only for our patients, but also for our staff,” said Public Affairs Officer Jeff Hoelscher.

The list system works by attaching a harness to a patient and then lifting them gently to where they need to go. 

"When we have larger patients, even regular size patients, that is high-risk for nursing staff and other staff to hurt their backs," Zerrer said. "These lift systems allow them to move patients much more safely." 

The VA will open its new facility to patients Feb. 7th.