Are you a patient with an issue not related to the coronavirus, and yet facing new challenges because of it?
Understandably the healthcare system is currently focusing its attention on the deadly effects of the coronavirus, so the need to pay attention to patient safety is now more important than ever.
We’re asking for patients, carers, family members and friends to share their stories, highlight weaknesses or safety issues that need to be addressed and share solutions that are working.
The safety of non COVID-19 patients
We need to keep all patients safe
Healthcare professionals will be focused by this crisis with huge efforts being made into limiting the spread, protecting patients and keeping demand for health services down and to manageable levels. We must not forget about the adverse consequences this will have on others who need our services.
We need to assess the impact COVID-19 (CV19) will have on patient safety as existing patient safety issues will be magnified and exacerbated with the rapid escalation of CV19, known causes of these issues such as scarcity of workforce are likely to become even more significant and as CV19 will become the main focus of a large number of healthcare care staff patient safety initiatives that have to date had traction and success may be abandoned for expediency.
Patient, carers, family and friends perspective
Healthcare staff will be focused on treating the person in front of them and the associated risks of CV19 to that individual. Patients see their whole care journey. They are well placed to identify gaps quickly. The concerns and experiences shared by patients and their families will help us highlight bigger system issues that need addressing quickly to prevent avoidable harm during this pandemic. We need patient stories, we need everyone's and anyone's stories.
Knowledge sharing and collaboration for patient safety
We are collating insights into the impact on non CV19 patients and patient safety to inform healthcare leaders and afterwards for learning.
We are using Patient Safety Learning’s the hub, a dedicated knowledge-sharing platform and community for patient safety, to do this. This has a knowledge repository, communities of practice, news and invites members to share their resources and insights.
There is already a dedicated section of the hub that contains resources on coronavirus and CV19: guidance, advice, tips and personal experience blogs.
We have set up a separate section on our community and inviting patients, family members and staff to share their stories, highlighting weaknesses/safety issues that need to be addressed and sharing solutions that are working:
Stories from patients, carers, families
We are inviting people to share with us their stories and:
- A personal snippet of their life and personality (a photo would be great to make it personal)
- Where they live
- What part of the healthcare system they access and for how long have they been using it?
- What have they noticed that has been different now the crisis has started? E.g. outpatient appointments, collection of medication, GP appointments, cancellation of operations?
- What impact has this had on them?
- What are their fears about their long-term health problem in amongst the crisis?
- Do they feel safe?
- Do they feel informed?
- Contact details if they are happy to share.
- Highlight new areas of unsafe care. What have they noticed that has been different now the crisis has started, e.g. outpatient appointments, collection of medication, GP appointments, cancellation of operations?
Some of the issues we’re keen to look at are:
- Aspects of healthcare that you previously considered safe but maybe no longer be so as a consequence of fewer staff, changes in ways of working, unclear new arrangements etc.
- In cases of elective intervention and/or appointment being postponed, does the patient/family know the warning signs to call for help? Is there a hotline or urgent clinic for patients to contact?
- Positive stories as well as negative. Has anything improved since the crisis? For example, has the use of digital/virtual interventions (accessing a GP) had a positive effect?
- Data and analytics if available to show current trends in safety and adherence.
How we can engage with patient leaders to access patients’ stories
We are actively promoting the sourcing of insight from patients, families and staff. We will be actively promoting this through the patient safety agencies, patient and family organisations, healthcare systems, social and mainstream media in. We will promote as a campaign through #SafetyStories
What will we do with this insight and information?
This information will be publicly available on the hub for all.
We will review the content and identify themes of concern/worry and highlight as a global resource through regular updates and reports. These will highlight the ‘second victims' of the virus.