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Patient and Family Communication When Unexpected Events Cause Patient Harm

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Patient and Family Communication When Unexpected Events Cause Patient Harm

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has released a new online toolkit to help hospital and health system leaders and clinicians communicate with patients and their families when something goes wrong with their care.

The toolkit will help expand use of an AHRQ-developed communication and resolution process called Communication and Optimal Resolution, or CANDOR, which gives hospitals and health systems the tools to respond immediately when a patient is harmed and to promote candid, empathetic communication and timely resolution for patients and caregivers.

The CANDOR toolkit, which is customizable and available at no charge, is the latest in a series of AHRQ materials to teach, train, and catalyze health care providers to build capacity to make care safer.

According to AHRQ, despite the best efforts of hospitals, doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, about 1 in 10 patients is harmed by the care they receive. Ineffective communication following harm can leave patients and families to wonder what happened and possibly seek legal action to find answers. Medical harm can impact patients twice, first when the harm itself occurs and second when silence and poor communication follows.  Implementing honest and transparent communication processes can support safer care for patients.


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