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UHN housekeeper’s safety sense and quick response help save father of three

Jared and Herby in hospital room
Jared Wright, (L), who goes to Unit 5B safety huddles at Toronto General Hospital regularly, shares a laugh with Herby, 38, following the patient’s heart and lung transplant. During his housekeeping rounds, Jared noticed that Herby was not responding to his greeting and called a nurse to help. Herby was having a stroke as Jared entered his room. (Photo: UHN)

Jared Wright's quick thinking and attention to detail during his housekeeping rounds at Toronto General Hospital (TGH) helped save a young father's life.

Jared is a valued member of Unit 5B safety huddles at TGH, offering insights into potential safety hazards, constantly scanning his environment and paying attention to information shared by the team during the huddles.

International Housekeeping Week
September 10-16, 2017

"He's an extra set of eyes on our patients," says Danielle Small, Patient Care Coordinator, Units 5A and 5B, Cardiology Inpatient and Cardiac Short-Stay. "He's a great help to us."

Danielle adds that everyone on the unit is expected to attend daily safety huddles and speak up about any safety concerns.

There's no better illustration of that than the day after lunch when Jared came into the room of Herby to say hello, as he often did, and to see how the patient was feeling.

Herby, 38, was born with congenital heart failure, and was waiting for a heart and lung transplant.

But that afternoon, Jared noticed that Herby did not respond when he greeted him, and that he was groaning and trying to reach out with his hand.

caring safely logoWhen Herby did not respond, Jared realized something was wrong, and called a nurse.

The nurse quickly realized Herby was having a stroke, and a Code was called.

Herby, who has three children aged nine, two and nearly a year, recalls that day, grateful Jared stopped by.

"I couldn't get up. I couldn't move my whole right side. I could not talk," Herby says.

Daily safety huddles with staff on patient units, and subsequently with leaders at each UHN site, are a key aspect of UHN's Caring Safely transformation. They foster a culture of safety where everyone takes personal responsibility for patient and workplace safety every day. All are encouraged to speak up for safety by reporting errors or events, concerns and good catches to eliminate preventable harm. 

While performing his daily duties as a housekeeper, Jared notices if a patient is agitated, or whether families are putting on the appropriate protective equipment to protect patients from germs, or if a patient needs a smile and chat.

"I like to be educated about all the patients we take care of on our unit," Jared says. "I pay attention when I go into patients' rooms. I can get people to talk if they feel lonely, and I watch out for them.

"That makes them feel safe and well cared for."

Jared and Colleague in hallway
TGH housekeeper Jared Wright with Danielle Small, Patient Care Coordinator, Units 5A and 5B, Cardiology Inpatient and Cardiac Short-Stay. Jared attends daily unit safety huddles and speaks up for safety. (Photo: UHN)​

Herby certainly feels that way. After being treated for a stroke, he was healthy enough to be re-listed for a heart and lung transplant. He received it in June of this year.

"Jared was there at the right moment," Herby says. "I would've had way more damage if he had not come along.

"He saved my life."​​

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