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Webster KLW, Keebler JR, Lazzara EH, et al. Jt Comm Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:343-353.
Effective handoff communication is a key indicator of safe patient care. These authors outline a new model for handoff communication, integrating three theoretical frameworks addressing relevant inputs (i.e., individual organizational, environmental factors), mediators (e.g., communication, leadership), outcomes (e.g., patient, provider, teamwork, and organizational outcomes), and adaptation loops.
Malevanchik L, Wheeler M, Gagliardi K, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47:775-782.
Communication in healthcare is essential but can be complicated, particularly when there are language barriers between providers and patients. This study evaluated a hospital-wide care transitions program, with a goal of universal contact with discharged patients to identify and address care transition problems. Researchers found that the program reached most patients regardless of English proficiency, but that patients with limited English proficiency experienced more post-discharge issues, such as difficulty understanding discharge instructions, medication concerns and follow-up questions, and new or worsening symptoms.
Becker C, Zumbrunn S, Beck K, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4:e2119346.
Discharge from the hospital represents a vulnerable time for patients. This systematic review assessed the impact of discharge communication on hospital readmissions, adherence to treatment regimen, patient satisfaction, mortality, and emergency department visits 30 days after hospital discharge. Findings suggest that improved communication at discharge reduced 30-day hospital readmissions and increased adherence to treatment regimen.
Morrison AK, Gibson C, Higgins C, et al. Pediatr Qual Saf. 2021;6:e425.
Limited health literacy can lead to patients or caregivers misunderstanding care instructions. Researchers examined safety events occurring at one children’s hospital over a nine-month period and found that health literacy-related events accounted for 4% of all safety events. Health literacy-related events generally involved problems with medication (e.g., unclear discharge medication instructions, conflicting instructions), system processes (e.g.., failures to address language barriers), and discharge and transitions (e.g., unclear equipment information, unclear instructions about upcoming tests).
Schnipper JL, Reyes Nieva H, Mallouk M, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2022;31:278-286.
Medication reconciliation aims to prevent adverse events during transitions of care, but implementing effective interventions supporting medication reconciliation has proven challenging. Building upon lessons learned in the MARQUIS1 study, this pragmatic quality improvement study (MARQUIS2) implemented a refined toolkit including system-level and patient-level interventions as well as physician mentors providing remote coaching and in-person site visits. Across 17 hospital sites, the intervention was associated with a significant decrease in unintentional mediation discrepancies over time.
Kurteva S, Habib B, Moraga T, et al. Value Health. 2021;24:147-157.
Harms related to prescription opioid use are an ongoing patient safety challenge. Based on data from one hospital between 2014 and 2016, this cohort study found that nearly 50% of hospitalized patients were discharged with an opioid prescription, and 80% of those prescriptions were among patients discharged from a surgical unit. Opioid-related medication errors were more common in handwritten discharge prescriptions compared to electronic prescriptions; electronic prescriptions were associated with a 69% lower risk of opioid-related medication errors.
Field TS, Fouayzi H, Crawford S, et al. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2021;22:2196-2200.
Transitioning from hospital to nursing home (NH) can be a vulnerable time for patients. This study looked for potential associations between adverse events (AE) for NH residents following hospital discharge and NH facility characteristics (e.g., 5-star quality rating, ownership, bed size). Researchers found few associations with individual quality indicators and no association between the 5-star quality rating or composite quality score. Future research to reduce AEs during transition from hospital to NH should look beyond currently available quality measures.
Massa S, Wu J, Wang C, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2021;47:242-249.
The objective of this mixed methods study was to characterize training, practices, and preferences in interprofessional handoffs from the operating room to the intensive care unit (OR-to-ICU). Anesthesia residents, registered nurses, and advanced practice providers indicated that they had not received enough preparation for OR-to-ICU handoffs in their clinical education or on-the-job training. Clinicians from all professions noted a high value of interprofessional education in OR-to-ICU handoffs, especially during early degree programs would be beneficial.

Shannon EM, Zheng J, Orav EJ, et al. JAMA Network Open. 2021:4(3);e213474.

This cross-sectional study examined whether racial/ethnic disparities in interhospital transfers (IHT) for common medical diagnoses such as heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, stroke, and sepsis, impact mortality outcomes. The authors analyzed 899,557 patients and reported that Black patients had lower odds of IHT compared to White patients, while Hispanic patient had higher odds of IHT compared with White patients. The authors propose several possible explanations including differences in Black and Hispanic willingness to transfer, impact of insurance status and reimbursement rates, coding inaccuracies, and other complex dynamics for their findings.
Uong A, Philips K, Hametz P, et al. Pediatrics. 2021;147:e20200031.
Breakdowns in communication between clinicians and patients and their caregivers are common and can lead to adverse events. This article describes the development of the SAFER Care framework for written and verbal discharge counseling in pediatric units. The SAFER mnemonic reminds clinicians delivering discharge counseling to discuss safe return to school/daycare, activity restrictions, follow-up plans expected symptoms after discharge, when to return and seek care for symptoms, and who to contact with questions. Results from caregiver surveys indicate that the SAFER Care framework improved their comprehension of discharge instructions.
Maloney LM, Alptunaer T, Coleman G, et al. J Emerg Med. 2020;59:872-883.
Naloxone administration in inpatient and outpatient settings is used to mitigate the effects of opioid overdose. This study, conducted at one academic medical center, found that an increasing number prehospital naloxone doses for suspected opioid overdose was significantly associated with an increased likelihood of adverse events (AEs) in the emergency department (ED).
Backman C, Cho-Young D. Patient Prefer Adherence. 2019;13:617-626.
Hospital discharge is a complex process that requires patient and caregiver engagement in order to transpire safely. Interviews with members of a Canadian patient safety organization who had recently been discharged from the hospital revealed that they desired better communication as well as more attention to their social determinants of health. A PSNet perspective discussed interventions to improve safety during the transition from hospital to home.
Society of Hospital Medicine
This Web site provides resources associated with the Better Outcomes for Older adults through Safe Transitions project, called Project Boost. This national initiative designed tactics to improve the safety and quality of patient transitions from hospital to home. The program provided hospitals with implementation assistance to use tools in general and specifically for their environments, such as pediatrics.
Sentinel Event Alert. 2006;35:1-4.
This alert emphasizes the importance of reconciling medications and supports implementation of this Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations' (JCAHO) National Patient Safety Goal. Note: This alert has been retired effective August 2016. Please refer to the information link below for further details.