Patient Safety Awareness Week is an initiative of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). Each year, IHI’s United in Patient Safety campaign culminates in this week dedicated to increasing patient safety awareness among health professionals and the public. This year’s activities will focus on safety culture and patient engagement.
According to IHI, “Despite progress in patient safety over the years, studies suggest that medical error and preventable harm remain major sources of injury and death among patients. A recent national survey conducted by the IHI/NPSF Lucian Leape Institute and NORC at the University of Chicago found that 1 in 5 people reportedly experienced a medical error in their own care, and one-third reported an error in the care of a close relative or friend.”
Patient and family engagement is a key component of patient safety and can lead to measurable improvements in safety and quality. As healthcare professionals we must encourage patients and families to ask questions and report concerns.
Engaging patients and families in care is not a separate initiative, rather it is a critical part of all quality and safety initiatives. Engagement includes:
- Encouraging patients and family members to participate as advisors
- Promoting better communication among patients, family members and health care professionals from the point of admission
- Implementing safe continuity of care by keeping the patient and family informed through nurse bedside change of shift reports
- Implementing open visitation policies
- Engaging patients and families in discharge planning throughout the hospital stay
The challenge with patient/family engagement is shifting from a perspective of approaching the patient as an individual who “needs to be treated” to an individual who is a fundamental participant in their own care treatment.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) Guide to Patient and Family Engagement in Hospital Quality and Safety is an evidence-based resource designed to assist hospitals to work as partners with patients and families, to improve quality and safety. This is a great resource for hospitals as they seek to strengthen patient engagement.
Twitter Chat: Building a Safety Culture
On Friday, March 16, from 12 Noon to 1:00 pm Eastern Time, IHI (@TheIHI) will host a Twitter Chat: Building a Safety Culture. Governmental, advocacy, and professional organizations and individuals will share questions, challenges, and strategies to advance a safety culture in health care. All are invited to participate by using the event hashtag #PSAW18.
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