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Farnborough, UK: Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch; June 2022.

Handoffs between prehospital emergency medical services (EMS) providers and hospital emergency departments (EDs) can be suboptimal, which increases patient harm potential. This interim report examines National Health Service discharge delays. It suggests a systemic approach is needed to address flow and capacity factors that contribute to ineffective and unsafe interfacility discharge and transfer.
Falk A-C, Nymark C, Göransson KE, et al. Intensive Crit Care Nurs. 2022:103276.
Needed nursing care that is delayed, partially completed, or not completed at all is known as missed nursing care (MNC). Researchers surveyed critical care registered nurses during two phases of the COVID-19 pandemic about recent missed nursing care, perceived quality of care, and contributing factors. There were no major changes in the types of, or reasons for, MNC compared to the reference survey completed in fall 2019.
Vollam S, Gustafson O, Morgan L, et al. Crit Care Med. 2022;50:1083-1092.
This mixed-method study explored the reasons why out-of-hours discharges from the ICU to the ward, and nighttime coverage are associated with poor outcomes. Based on qualitative interviews with patients, family members, and staff involved in the ICU discharge process, this study found that out-of-hours discharges are considered unsafe due to nighttime staffing levels and skill mix. Out-of-hours discharges often occurred prematurely, without adequate handovers, and involved patients who were not physiologically stable, and at risk for clinical deterioration.

London, UK: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman; 2021. ISBN 9781528627016. 

Lack of appropriate follow up of diagnostic imaging can result in care delays, patient harm, and death. This report summarizes an investigation of 25 imaging failures in the British National Health Service (NHS). The analysis identified communication and coordination issues resulting in lack of action and reporting of unanticipated findings to properly advance care. Recommendations to improve imaging in the NHS include use of previous analyses to enhance learning from failure.
von Vogelsang A‐C, Göransson KE, Falk A‐C, et al. J Nurs Manag. 2021;29:2343-2352.
Incomplete nursing care can be detrimental to care quality and patient safety. This cross-sectional survey of nurses in Sweden at one acute care hospital did not identify significant differences in missed nursing care before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors posit that these results may be attributed to maintaining nurse-patient ratios, sufficient nursing skill mix, and patient mix.
Scantlebury A, Sheard L, Fedell C, et al. Digit Health. 2021;7:205520762110100.
Electronic health record (EHR) downtime can disrupt patient care and increase risk for medical errors. Semi-structured interviews with healthcare staff and leadership at one large hospital in England illustrate the negative consequences of a three-week downtime of an electronic pathology system on patient experience and safety. The authors propose recommendations for hospitals to consider when preparing for potential technology downtimes.
Longhini J, Papastavrou E, Efstathiou G, et al. J Nurs Manag. 2021;29:572-583.
This international qualitative study explored strategies employed by nurse managers and directors to prevent missed nursing care. Most strategies, including staffing ratios, communication, and empowering nurse leaders, required complex interventions at the system level, indicating missed nursing care is not merely a nursing issue. Nurse managers play a key role in implementing strategies at the nursing and hospital level.
Lurvey LD, Fassett MJ, Kanter MH. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47:288-295.
High reliability organizations encourage staff to self-report errors and hazards for comprehensive review and improvement. Three hospitals in one health system implemented a voluntary error reporting system for clinicians to report their own and others’ clinical errors. Although only 5% of reported errors were physician self-reports, there were still benefits: it captured novel errors, provided a safe space to report those errors, and encouraged secondary insights into causes of the errors.
Richmond RT, McFadzean IJ, Vallabhaneni P. BMJ Open Qual. 2021;10:e001142.
Timely completion of discharge summaries can improve handoffs with outpatient physicians and ensure communication of potential patient safety problems. This quality improvement project used an established change model to improve the rate of discharge summary completed within 24 hours from less than 10%, to 84% within 2 months.
Pryce A, Unwin M, Kinsman L, et al. Int Emerg Nurs. 2020;54:100956.
Emergency department (ED) overcrowding and prolonged ED stays can lead to adverse patient outcomes. This study examined patient flow bottlenecks in the ED and several factors posing risks to patient safety, such as prolonged time to triage and use of makeshift spaces (which may have inadequate staffing allocations or lack necessary equipment).
Ihlebæk HM. Int J Nurs Stud. 2020;109:103636.
Using ethnographic methods, this study explored the impact of ‘silent report’ (computer-mediated handover) on nurses’ cognitive work and communication. The authors summarize four emerging themes, which highlight and characterize the importance of oral communication to ensure accurate and useful handovers.
Demaria J, Valent F, Danielis M, et al. J Nurs Care Qual. 2021;36:202-209.
Little empirical evidence exists assessing the association of different nursing handoff styles with patient outcomes. This retrospective study examined the incidence of falls during nursing handovers performed in designated rooms away from patients (to ensure confidentiality and prevent interruptions and distractions). No differences in the incidence of falls or fall severity during handovers performed away from patients versus non-handover times were identified.
Ferrara G, De Vincentiis L, Ambrosini-Spaltro A, et al. Am J Clin Pathol. 2021;155:64-68.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to patients delaying or forgoing necessary health care.  Comparing the same 10-week period in 2018, 2019 and 2020, researchers used data from seven hospitals in northern-central Italy to assess the impact of COVID-19 on cancer diagnoses. Compared to prior years, cancer diagnoses overall fell by 45% in 2020. Researchers noted the largest decrease in cancer diagnoses among skin, colorectal, prostate, and bladder cancers.  
Parro Martín M de los Á, Muñoz García M, Delgado Silveira E, et al. J Eval Clin Pract. 2021;27:160-166.
Researchers analyzed medication errors occurring in the trauma service of a single university hospital in Spain to inform the development and implementation of a set of measures to improve the safety of the pharmacotherapeutic process. The Multidisciplinary Hospital Safety Group proposed improvement measures that intend to involve pharmacists in medication reconciliation, increase the use of medication reconciliation in the emergency and trauma departments, and incorporate protocols and alerts into the electronic prescribing system.
Leuridan G. Safety Sci. 2020;129:104839.
The author defines ‘work debate spaces’ as organizational spaces that serve as a vehicle for organizational learning, practice changes, and performance improvement. This article discusses the role of formal and informal ‘work debate spaces’ in establishing a culture of safety in critical care settings. Examples of formal and informal spaces include mortality and morbidity (M&M) meetings (formal) and handoffs between shifts (informal).
Lindblad M, Unbeck M, Nilsson L, et al. BMC Health Serv Res. 2020;20:289.
This study used a trigger tool to retrospectively identify and characterize no-harm incidents affecting adult patients in home healthcare settings in Sweden. The most common incidents identified by the trigger tool were falls without injury, medication management incidents, and moderate pain. Common contributing factors included delayed, erroneous, or incomplete nursing care and treatment.
Pfeiffer Y, Zimmermann C, Schwappach DLB. J Patient Saf. 2020;Publish Ahead of Print.
This study examined patient safety issues stemming from health information technology (HIT)-related information management hazards. The authors identified eleven thematic groups describing such hazards occurring at a systemic level, such as fragmentation of patient information, “information islands” (e.g., nurses and physicians have separate information sets despite the same HIT system), and inadequate information structures (e.g., no drug interaction warning integrated in the chemotherapy prescribing tool).
Sanson G, Marino C, Valenti A, et al. Heart & Lung. 2020;49:407-414.
Prospective observational study examined whether nursing complexity level predicts adverse event risk among patients transferred from the ICU to the discharge ward. In this 13-bed ICU, researchers found that various factors including level of acuity and nursing complexity predated risk of adverse events (AEs); patients who exceeded a predetermined complexity threshold were at 3-times greater risk of AEs.