Atlanta, GA,
11:27 AM

Shepherd Center Wins Statewide Patient Safety Award for Enhanced Patient Care

Winning project aims to reduce pressure ulcers.

GHA Patient Safety Award-winning team for

The Georgia Hospital Association Partnership for Health and Accountability (PHA) presented its prestigious Patient Safety and Quality Award to Shepherd Center  for its project that helped its patient population significantly reduce pressure ulcers from improper footwear. The project “Zip It in the Bud: A Visual Management Technique for Reducing Pressure Injury Due to Improper Footwear,” won first place in the Specialty Hospitals category. These annual awards recognize Georgia health care organizations for achievement in reducing the risk of medical errors and improving patient safety and medical outcomes.

Due to paralysis and central nervous system impairments, many Shepherd Center patients have altered sensations and a limited ability to report pain. If not addressed quickly, ill-fitting shoes can lead to the loss or restriction of blood flow in as little as 30 minutes, which can lead to deep tissue injuries. The goal of the project, led by the Wound Prevention Group at Shepherd Center, was for patients to have zero pressure injuries caused by wearing inappropriate footwear.

“While there was a process in place to evaluate patients’ shoes, clinicians reported a knowledge gap, lack of awareness and variation in the identification of approved footwear by nursing and therapy staff,” said Kimberly Levenson, BSN, RN, CRRN, CWOCN, wound ostomy continence resource nurse at Shepherd Center. “This gap highlighted a need for a quick and easy method to identify unapproved shoes. With the “Zip It in the Bud” project, a visual cue of brightly colored zip-tie was placed on the shoe once the primary physical therapist approved it. This simple, low-cost visual management improvement eased the identification of defects, increased staff awareness of the importance of proper footwear and allowed for a system to immediately resolve the situation.”

GHA also presented Shepherd Center with a Circle of Excellence Award, an honor given to hospitals and health systems that have demonstrated a sustained commitment to quality and patient safety, as evidenced by not only winning a patient safety award in 2021, but by earning three or more PHA Patient Safety Awards within the previous five years.

“Elimination of hospital-acquired injuries is a priority for hospitals statewide,” said Georgia Hospital Association President and CEO Earl Rogers. “We applaud Shepherd Center for making critical progress in patient safety and ensuring the best and safest care possible for its patients.”

Photo caption: Top (L-R): Kimberly Levenson, Shannon Markley, Ricky Flyod, Tammy Camm ,Angelique Morris, Jeremy Bingham, Buddy Sledge, Cathi Dugger, Jill Roecker. Bottom (L-R): Carolyn Loughner, Meena Iyer, Tammy King, Halida Jenkins
Not Pictured: Patti Lingefelt, Deasha Hart, Brigid Sykes, Valeria Lewis, Craig Andrews, John Turner, Jeanette Clark

About PHA

The Partnership for Health and Accountability (PHA), an affiliate of GHA, was established in January 2000 to improve patient care and patient safety in hospitals and other health care facilities and create healthy communities.

 About GHA

Founded in 1929, GHA serves more than 150 hospitals in Georgia and promotes the health and welfare of the public through the development of better hospital care for all Georgia’s citizens. The mission of GHA is to advance the health of individuals and communities by serving as the leading advocate for all Georgia hospitals and health care systems. GHA represents its members before the General Assembly and Congress, as well as state and federal regulatory agencies, and is an allied member of the American Hospital Association. For more information, please call 770-249-4500 or visit

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.