Exploration of patient safety phenomena in rehabilitation and complex continuing care.

Abstract

Patient safety has been relatively unexplored in rehabilitation and complex continuing care (CCC) settings. From the perspectives of staff members, this qualitative study aimed to explore patient safety phenomena that exist within rehabilitation/CCC and to identify the characteristics of the current workplace culture that act as enablers of or barriers to patient safety. Sixty-six staff members in a large, multisite, academic rehabilitation/CCC health centre volunteered to participate in one of six interprofessional focus groups, designed to model patient care teams that exist within the clinical programs; one focus group was also conducted with support services staff. Thematic analysis revealed that rehabilitation/CCC settings present with distinct patient safety issues due to the unique and increasingly complex populations that are served, and the place of rehabilitation/CCC along the continuum of care. Enablers and barriers identified related to teamwork, culture, resources and organizational and individual responsibility. Results of this study have helped form the foundation for future patient safety initiatives within our settings, with clear emphasis on enhancing an open and just culture in which to discuss safety issues through development of improved leadership-staff relations, teamwork and communication and clearer processes and structures for accountability. The approach to addressing these issues must fit within our rehabilitation models of care.

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