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Sources of unsafe primary care for older adults: a mixed-methods analysis of patient safety incident reports

Cooper, Alison ORCID:, Edwards, Adrian G. ORCID:, Williams, Huw, Evans, Huw Prosser, Avery, Anthony, Hibbert, Peter, Makeham, Meredith, Sheikh, Aziz, Donaldson, Liam J. and Carson-Stevens, Andrew ORCID: 2017. Sources of unsafe primary care for older adults: a mixed-methods analysis of patient safety incident reports. Age and Ageing 46 (5) , pp. 833-839. 10.1093/ageing/afx044

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BACKGROUND: older adults are frequent users of primary healthcare services, but are at increased risk of healthcare-related harm in this setting. OBJECTIVES: to describe the factors associated with actual or potential harm to patients aged 65 years and older, treated in primary care, to identify action to produce safer care. DESIGN AND SETTING: a cross-sectional mixed-methods analysis of a national (England and Wales) database of patient safety incident reports from 2005 to 2013. SUBJECTS: 1,591 primary care patient safety incident reports regarding patients aged 65 years and older. METHODS: we developed a classification system for the analysis of patient safety incident reports to describe: the incident and preceding chain of incidents; other contributory factors; and patient harm outcome. We combined findings from exploratory descriptive and thematic analyses to identify key sources of unsafe care. RESULTS: the main sources of unsafe care in our weighted sample were due to: medication-related incidents e.g. prescribing, dispensing and administering (n = 486, 31%; 15% serious patient harm); communication-related incidents e.g. incomplete or non-transfer of information across care boundaries (n = 390, 25%; 12% serious patient harm); and clinical decision-making incidents which led to the most serious patient harm outcomes (n = 203, 13%; 41% serious patient harm). CONCLUSION: priority areas for further research to determine the burden and preventability of unsafe primary care for older adults, include: the timely electronic tools for prescribing, dispensing and administering medication in the community; electronic transfer of information between healthcare settings; and, better clinical decision-making support and guidance.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0002-0729
Funders: NIHR HS&DR
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 6 September 2017
Date of Acceptance: 8 February 2017
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2023 15:54

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