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Patient safety culture assessment in the nursing home

Abstract

Objective: To assess patient safety culture (PSC) in the nursing home setting, to determine whether nursing home professionals differ in their PSC ratings, and to compare PSC scores of nursing homes with those of hospitals.

Methods: The Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture was modified for use in nursing homes (PSC-NH) and distributed to 151 professionals in four non-profit nursing homes. Mean scores on each PSC-NH dimension were compared across professions (doctors, pharmacists, advanced practitioners and nurses) and with published benchmark scores from 21 hospitals.

Results: Response rates were 68.9% overall and 52–100% for different professions. Most respondents (76%) were women and had worked in nursing homes for an average of 9.8 years, and at their current facility for 5.4 years. Professions agreed on 11 of 12 dimensions of the survey and differed significantly (p<0.05) only in ratings for one PSC dimension (attitudes about staffing issues), where nurses and pharmacists believed that they had enough employees to handle the workload. Nursing homes scored significantly lower (ie, worse) than hospitals (p<0.05) in five PSC dimensions (non-punitive response to error, teamwork within units, communication openness, feedback and communication about error, and organisational learning).

Conclusions: Professionals in nursing homes generally agree about safety characteristics of their facilities, and the PSC in nursing homes is significantly lower than that in hospitals. PSC assessment may be helpful in fostering comparisons across nursing home settings and professions, and identifying targets for interventions to improve patient safety.

  • HSOPSC, Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture
  • PSC, patient safety culture
  • PSC-NH, patient safety culture in nursing homes
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