BENNINGTON - Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) received $29,750 in grant funding from the Cardinal Health Foundation to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and excellence of surgical care.

Cardinal Health Foundation awarded grants to 42 different United States hospitals, totaling nearly $1.1 million.

"The nurses and doctors who care for SVMC patients already provide top-quality care," said Dr. Simon Drew, Dartmouth Hitchcock Putnam Physician and Chief of General Surgery. "This grant provides an opportunity for our clinicians to expand their skills in ways that will help to improve overall patient safety in the operating room."

Specific objectives of this grant project include enhancing communication within the operating room teams, increasing the rate of surgical checklist completion, reducing major post-op complications, and boosting safety attitude (readiness, awareness).

This is the third consecutive year for this competitive grant program.

Specifically, the funds coming to SVMC will support simulation learning - where operating room teams practice challenging situations together. Their practice sessions are observed and captured on video so that the clinicians get feedback on their performance.

SVHC opened a simulation learning laboratory last April where staff practice clinical skills and communication techniques to gain comfort and support by observing their own performance and assessing what changes could be made to improve patient safety and quality.

Team members gain comfort and skill in giving and receiving feedback in order to make positive changes in care delivery and relationship building. Simulation labs have become an integral part of nursing and medical school training.

"We're pleased to support health care providers who are working to implement best practices and improve the effectiveness, excellence and efficiency of patient care," said Shelley Bird, executive vice president of public affairs for Cardinal Health and chairperson of the Cardinal Health Foundation. "We congratulate SVMC and their work to achieve meaningful, long-term improvements."

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center is part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), a non-profit integrated health system that serves communities in Vermont, New York, and Massachusetts. SVHC also includes the VNA and Hospice of SVHC, the Centers for Living & Rehabilitation, the SVMC Northshire and Deerfield Valley Campuses, and Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center.

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center is Vermont's first Magnet hospital for nursing excellence and home to the region's only breast care program fully accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers. To learn more about SVMC, visit svhealthcare.org.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock is a national leader in patient-centered health care and building a sustainable health system. Founded in 1893, the system includes New Hampshire's only Level 1 trauma center and its only air ambulance service, as well as the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, one of only 40 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation, and the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, the state's only Children's Hospital Association-approved, comprehensive, full-service children's hospital.

The Cardinal Health Foundation supports local, national and international programs that improve health care quality and build healthy communities. The Cardinal Health Foundation also offers grants to encourage employee service to the community. To learn more, visit cardinalhealth.com/community or www. facebook.com/CardinalHealthFoundation.