Culture of Safety a Top Priority at Denver Health


PulseTiles2022 July EmployeeEngagementSurvey B

Building a culture of safety at Denver Health is a top priority, and dedicated teams are taking steps to ensure patient safety and the safety of our employees and other team members is at the forefront of everything we do.

In the 2020 Employee Engagement Survey, some staff shared that they want to see improvements in how Denver Health ensures high-quality care and service for our patients and the safety of staff, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. You also wanted routine communication to keep you informed about all things having to do with COVID.

Denver Health listened to your feedback and when Incident Command was operating, we ensured that you had the most up-to-date information through daily, COVID-19 Huddle Sheets. We communicated with you about the availability, training and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to take care of our patients. Additionally, we established masking and visitation guidelines, tightening and easing them as needed, while following protocols to best protect staff and patients from COVID. 

Also since the 2020 survey, our Patient Safety and Quality Department has been working to better respond to safety concerns so that staff feel heard and supported when they report problems or mistakes rather than feeling penalized for reporting issues. Every one of the nearly 8,000 annual adverse event (Safety Intelligence) reports are reviewed by a Patient Safety and Quality staff member, and they form the foundation of the department’s improvement work.  Every month, Denver Health gives 10-20 individuals a “Good Catch” certificate to recognize the value of event reporting. In addition, the Department of Patient Safety and Quality and the Senior Management Team have continued to reinforce and role model the principles of a just culture reflected in Denver Health’s Culture of Safety Decision Tree which emphasizes how to improve our systems as whole rather than placing individual blame in the setting of adverse events.

If you’d like a comprehensive update on Denver Health’s quality and safety activities and results, including more information on the Culture of Safety Algorithm, please see the 2021 Patient Safety & Quality Annual Report, available online here.

While we still have progress to make, Denver Health is seeing signs that our efforts are leading to improvements. This past spring, Denver Health received an “A” Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade. This is a national distinction that recognizes our hospital’s achievements in protecting patients from preventable harm and error.

What makes this accomplishment even more significant is that Denver Health improved from the “C” we had held since 2020 to an “A” in 2022.

Workplace Violence

We know that you’re concerned about your personal safety. Denver Health has a Zero Tolerance Policy on workplace violence. In the months ahead, the Workforce Violence Committee and Marketing Department will be launching a patient-facing campaign that includes a video and posters. The campaign will send a strong message that Denver Health does not tolerate violence in any form, be it verbal hostility or physical abuse. 

We have had a Workplace Violence Committee in place since 2012 and have heard your concerns over the past decade. We have had a Denver Police Lieutenant on this committee since 2014. We want to assure you are supported by the Denver Police Department (DPD) should you decide to press charges. We also have staff in our Legal Department who can assist should you be called into court. In addition, DPD has assisted us in providing training sessions for you. 

More de-escalation training sessions are available through a joint effort of our Emergency Management and Paramedic departments. You can learn more about those and how your department’s leader can sign up here.

In our clinical areas, we have added call lights as alerts related to violence and have promoted legislation to support your safety. It is also our practice to have leadership reach out to support staff who have experienced violence, as any form of violence against you is not acceptable.

If you experience physical violence, please reach out to your local leader for support and guidance. Denver Health offers a host of resources, including our RISE (Resilience in Stressful Events) staff support program and Peer Assault Care Team (PACT).  See resources here.

View a print-friendly version of this information here or on the What Matters to You Pulse site.


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