Researching patient safety at transition to home care

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The Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) has partnered with Accreditation Canada, HealthCareCAN, and the Canadian Home Care Association to commission a research study on patient safety at the transition of care. The successful candidate will receive $50,000 for the one year research project.

A patient’s transition from hospital to home is a major milestone in the care process and their personal well-being. However, it is also a time during which preventable errors that impact the patient, family caregivers and healthcare team are frequently experienced. Transitions of care are complex events that require coordinated approaches between home care and acute care. They are supported by communication across care settings and between providers.

The commissioned research will focus on frail elderly patients transitioning from the hospital to their own home. Specifically, the research will recommend innovative strategies and tools to help patients, family caregivers and healthcare team members work together to ensure the patient has the information required to safely manage their care in the home post-discharge.

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“This partnership and study will allow us to develop a deeper understanding of the opportunities to spread innovative solutions for patient safety issues that will make a difference at this vulnerable time. The research will focus on how to partner with and empower clients, families and caregivers to improve safety for the frail elderly,” says Kim Stelmacovich, Senior Director of Safety Improvement and Innovation at CPSI.

“By working together, the partner organizations can bring a wide cross section of perspectives to informing the issue, the research questions, the approaches and the dissemination and translation of the research outcomes,” says Tina Saryeddine, Executive Director of Research and Innovation at HealthCareCAN.

To ensure that the research will make as valuable a contribution as possible to the field of patient safety in the home care sector, a survey was designed to engage stakeholders to help identify the topic and shape the request for proposal. “Home care stakeholders will benefit from the outcomes of this research through the identification of promising practices that can be implemented across the country,” states Nadine Henningsen, Executive Director of the Canadian Home Care Association.

Though the funding is contained in its scale, the partnership surrounding the project will incite a meaningful conversation around the supports that must be established to ensure clients are able to safely stay in their homes, maintaining their independence, dignity, and a high quality of life.

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“Safe care transitions are essential to positive health care outcomes, and our accreditation program helps organizations put effective transition processes in place,” says Wendy Nicklin, President and CEO of Accreditation Canada. “We are pleased to lend our support to research that focuses on this high-risk area of health care delivery, and identifies ways to improve the quality of care provided to patients during transitions from the hospital to their home.”

To date, 13 applications have been received, with topics ranging from patient empowerment though education and self-management of their condition in the home, to the unique needs of clients living with dementia. The winning submission will be announced later this month.