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New study from NYUCN is the first to look at nursing error disclosure in nursing homes
Date:11/4/2011

l precautions), inappropriate judgment or attentiveness, misinterpreting a physician's order, or documentation errors.

"Registered nurse respondents and nurses who had prior experience disclosing a serious error were more likely to disclose a serious error," said Wagner. "It appears that nurses' personal experience and level of education are more likely to influence error disclosure, rather than other factors such as the institutional culture in which they work," she said.

Although there is increasing attention to disclosing harmful events, there is a significant gap between what is expected and what actually occurs in current practice. The process of disclosing is an ethical and legal obligation that provides essential information to patients and families.

The authors found that multiple barriers exist that might inhibit disclosure; almost one-third of the respondents were less likely to disclose if they believed they might be sued or reprimanded. In addition, respondents believed that current efforts toward educating and supporting nurses with regard to errors were inadequate.

"Regardless of the health care provider's attitude about error disclosure, most patients or residents and their families want to know if an error has occurred, even if minor, said Wagner. "If nurses do not acknowledge that errors occur and they are a serious problem, then improving patient safety in this setting will be even more difficult."

The authors acknowledge that the obstacles to improving quality and safety in nursing homes and encouraging error disclosure by nursing staff are powerful. This study supports the need for stakeholders in the nursing home industry to carefully consider how transparency can be used as a vehicle for positive change. For example, NH facilities need to introduce explicit disclosure policies by creating their own approaches using guidelines related to the steps and processes of disclosure.


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Contact: christopher James
christopher.james@nyu.edu
212-998-6876
New York University
Source:Eurekalert

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