Policy & Measurement

Safety participation at the direct care level: Results of a patient questionnaire

Understanding how patients can be engaged in safety-related activities at the direct care level is of current relevance given global efforts to reduce harm in hospitals. As part of a multiphase study, including a descriptive, exploratory qualitative study (Duhn & Medves, 2018), patients were asked to respond to a brief questionnaire to quantify how they viewed their patient-reported safety participation behaviours while in hospital. This paper is a summary of those responses. The 8-item questionnaire was, in part, used to help address a secondary research question of the larger qualitative study, specifically: What behaviours do patients report in promoting their safety while receiving care in hospital? Patients completed the questionnaire at the end of the face-to-face in-hospital interviews. Twenty-eight adult inpatients completed the questionnaire. Fifteen participants indicated that they ‘always’ or ‘usually’ checked their hospital medications; this was the second lowest rated activity. Most participants (n=20) believed they could rely on their knowledge and alertness to protect them from health-care error. Seventeen participants were in the high participation category. Given the prevalence of medication errors, patient involvement warrants further examination, including system supports to increase feasibility. Overall, a standardized, valid and reliable patient engagement in safety measure for the direct care level is required.