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Learning from patient safety incidents involving acutely sick adults in hospital assessment units in England and Wales: a mixed methods analysis for quality improvement

Urquhart, Alexandra, Yardley, Sarah, Thomas, Elin, Donaldson, Liam and Carson-Stevens, Andrew 2021. Learning from patient safety incidents involving acutely sick adults in hospital assessment units in England and Wales: a mixed methods analysis for quality improvement. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 14 (12) , pp. 563-574. 10.1177/01410768211032589

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Abstract

Learning from patient safety incidents involving acutely sick adults in hospital assessment units in England and Wales: a mixed methods analysis for quality improvement Show less Alexandra Urquhart, Sarah Yardley, Elin Thomas, Liam Donaldson, Andrew Carson-StevensFirst Published August 4, 2021 Research Article https://doi.org/10.1177/01410768211032589 Article information Article has an altmetric score of 152 Free Access Abstract Objective Six per cent of hospital patients experience a patient safety incident, of which 12% result in severe/fatal outcomes. Acutely sick patients are at heightened risk. Our aim was to identify the most frequently reported incidents in acute medical units and their characteristics. Design Retrospective mixed methods methodology: (1) an a priori coding process, applying a multi-axial coding framework to incident reports; and, (2) a thematic interpretative analysis of reports. Setting Patient safety incident reports (10 years, 2005–2015) collected from the National Reporting and Learning System, which receives reports from hospitals and other care settings across England and Wales. Participants Reports describing severe harm/death in acute medical unit were identified. Main outcome measures Incident type, contributory factors, outcomes and level of harm were identified in the included reports. During thematic analysis, themes and metathemes were synthesised to inform priorities for quality improvement. Results A total of 377 reports of severe harm or death were confirmed. The most common incident types were diagnostic errors (n = 79), medication-related errors (n = 61), and failures monitoring patients (n = 57). Incidents commonly stemmed from lack of active decision-making during patient admissions and communication failures between teams. Patients were at heightened risk of unsafe care during handovers and transfers of care. Metathemes included the necessity of patient self-advocacy and a lack of care coordination. Conclusion This 10-year national analysis of incident reports provides recommendations to improve patient safety including: introduction of electronic prescribing and monitoring systems; forcing checklists to reduce diagnostic errors; and increased senior presence overnight and at weekends.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: SAGE Publications (UK and US)
ISSN: 0141-0768
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 8 July 2021
Date of Acceptance: 28 June 2021
Last Modified: 07 Jan 2022 17:46
URI: https://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/142478

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