a person in a hospital bed with an IV mixing up their food in a white bowl with a fork and spoon.
Updating Best Practices for Patient Diets

A hospital’s Patient Safety Department noted safety concerns related to patients not receiving the correct diet. To understand what was happening, they identified and tracked 17 patients with incorrect diets. Their investigation revealed that physicians often did not address diet orders and recommendations in patient charts in their electronic medical record (EMR), where they remained pending, and since nurses are not allowed to accept verbal orders instead, the diet orders and recommendations were delayed for long periods of time. The team led several interdisciplinary meetings to brainstorm solutions to get the right diet to patients in a timely manner, and developed a protocol as a result, which they determined would have worked for 80% of the patients they had identified. They presented the protocol to the nursing practice council, the Pharmacy and Therapeutics departments, other rehabilitation departments, and the Medical Executive Committee, which suggested the protocol is a best practice, and changes were made to the EMR to implement it throughout the hospital system.