Action 6.10 states

The health service organisation ensures that there are communication processes for patients, carers and families to directly communicate critical information and risks about care to clinicians

Intent

Patients and carers can communicate critical information and risks about their care to clinicians.

Reflective questions

What processes are in place to support patients and carers to communicate critical information about their care to clinicians?

What feedback processes are in place to let patients and carers know that they have been heard and action has been taken, if necessary?

Key tasks

  • Develop and implement processes for patients and carers to communicate critical information and risks about their care
  • Support patients and carers to understand and use these processes.

Strategies for improvement

Hospitals

Consider actions in the Partnering with Consumers Standard when implementing this action.

Ensure that policies describe the processes for patients, carers and families to communicate critical information that has emerged or changed to the clinicians who are responsible for the patient’s care.

This could include:

  • Informing patients, carers and families about what could be considered critical information
  • Informing patients, carers and families about their role in communicating this information
  • Providing access to resources or communication tools to support patients, carers and families to communicate critical information to clinicians.

Examples of mechanisms could include information provided on admission, posters, notices in wards or patient rooms, or messages on waiting-room TVs and the organisation’s website. Ensure that information is displayed in a way that can be easily noticed and read by patients, carers and families.

Processes to inform patients, carers and families about who they can communicate critical information to when it emerges or changes, at any time, are also important. This may involve displaying information about how, and to whom, patients, carers and families can communicate critical information in patient rooms and common areas. The information could include:

  • A photo board of care team members with contact details
  • A phone number (and available phone) for patients, carers and families to call if they are concerned
  • A section on the patient whiteboard that identifies who is responsible for their care at any given time and how they can contact them
  • Information about how patients and families may request a meeting with their clinician, or an integrated team meeting.

Where possible, allocate specific times for patients, carers and families to communicate with their care team, rather than leaving patient and family queries to random encounters with the workforce.

An example of a tool for implementing this action is the REACH model (Recognise, Engage, Act, Call, Help is on its way) developed by the NSW Clinical Excellence Commission to enable patient- and family-activated escalation.

Day Procedure Services

Consider actions in the Partnering with Consumers Standard when implementing this action.

Ensure that policies describe the processes for patients, carers and families to communicate critical information that has emerged or changed to the clinicians who are responsible for the patient’s care:

  • Before admission
  • At different points of care
  • After discharge.

This could include:

  • Informing patients, carers and families about what could be considered critical information
  • Informing patients, carers and families about their role in communicating this information
  • Providing access to resources or communication tools to support patients, carers and families to communicate critical information to clinicians.

Examples of mechanisms could include information provided on admission, posters, notices around patient areas, and messages on waiting-room TVs and the organisation’s website. Ensure that information is displayed in a way that can be easily noticed and read by patients, carers and families.

Processes to inform patients, carers and families about who they can communicate critical information to when it emerges or changes, at any time, are also important. This may involve displaying information about how, and to whom, patients, carers and families can communicate critical information in patient rooms and common areas. The information could include:

  • A photo board of care team members with their names and responsibilities
  • A phone number for patients, carers and families to call if they are concerned, particularly if they have been discharged from the organisation.

Examples of evidence

Select only examples currently in use:

  • Policy documents that outline how patients, carers and families are informed about the processes for communicating concerns to clinicians
  • Examples of information provided to patients, carers and families about processes for communicating concerns to the clinicians responsible for care
  • Resources or tools for patients, carers or families to use to communicate with clinicians, such as bedside whiteboards and dedicated free telephone services in waiting areas
  • Patient notes that identify critical information provided by the patient or family and how this information was acted on
  • Records of patient focus groups or minutes of patient-initiated team meetings
  • Results of a patient experience survey or patient, carer and family feedback about their communication with clinicians and, where necessary, how these results have informed improvement strategies.

MPS & Small Hospitals

MPSs or small hospitals will need to:

  • Develop and implement processes for patients and carers to communicate critical information and risks about their care
  • Support patients and carers to understand and use these processes.

Ensure that policies describe the processes for patients, carers and families to communicate critical information that has emerged or changed to the clinicians who are responsible for the patient’s care:

  • Before admission
  • At different points of care
  • After discharge.

This could include:

  • Informing patients, carers and families about what could be considered critical information
  • Informing patients, carers and families about their role in communicating this information
  • Providing access to resources or communication tools to support patients, carers and families to communicate critical information to clinicians.

Examples of mechanisms could include information provided on admission, posters, notices in wards or patient rooms, and messages on waiting-room TVs and the organisation’s website. Ensure that information is displayed in a way that can be easily noticed and read by patients, carers and families.

Processes to inform patients, carers and families about who they can communicate critical information to when it emerges or changes, at any time, are also important. This may involve displaying information about how, and to whom, patients, carers and families can communicate critical information in patient rooms and common areas. The information could include:

  • A photo board of care team members with contact details
  • A phone number (and available phone) for patients, carers and families to call if they are concerned
  • A section on the patient whiteboard that identifies who is responsible for their care at any given time and how they can contact them
  • Information about how patients and families may request a meeting with their clinician, or an integrated team meeting.

If possible, allocate specific times for patients, carers and families to communicate with their care team, rather than leaving patient and family queries to random encounters with the workforce.

An example of a tool for implementing this action is the REACH model (Recognise, Engage, Act, Call, Help is on its way) developed by the NSW Clinical Excellence Commission to enable patient- and family-activated escalation.

Hospitals

Consider actions in the Partnering with Consumers Standard when implementing this action.

Ensure that policies describe the processes for patients, carers and families to communicate critical information that has emerged or changed to the clinicians who are responsible for the patient’s care.

This could include:

  • Informing patients, carers and families about what could be considered critical information
  • Informing patients, carers and families about their role in communicating this information
  • Providing access to resources or communication tools to support patients, carers and families to communicate critical information to clinicians.

Examples of mechanisms could include information provided on admission, posters, notices in wards or patient rooms, or messages on waiting-room TVs and the organisation’s website. Ensure that information is displayed in a way that can be easily noticed and read by patients, carers and families.

Processes to inform patients, carers and families about who they can communicate critical information to when it emerges or changes, at any time, are also important. This may involve displaying information about how, and to whom, patients, carers and families can communicate critical information in patient rooms and common areas. The information could include:

  • A photo board of care team members with contact details
  • A phone number (and available phone) for patients, carers and families to call if they are concerned
  • A section on the patient whiteboard that identifies who is responsible for their care at any given time and how they can contact them
  • Information about how patients and families may request a meeting with their clinician, or an integrated team meeting.

Where possible, allocate specific times for patients, carers and families to communicate with their care team, rather than leaving patient and family queries to random encounters with the workforce.

An example of a tool for implementing this action is the REACH model (Recognise, Engage, Act, Call, Help is on its way) developed by the NSW Clinical Excellence Commission to enable patient- and family-activated escalation.

Day Procedure Services

Consider actions in the Partnering with Consumers Standard when implementing this action.

Ensure that policies describe the processes for patients, carers and families to communicate critical information that has emerged or changed to the clinicians who are responsible for the patient’s care:

  • Before admission
  • At different points of care
  • After discharge.

This could include:

  • Informing patients, carers and families about what could be considered critical information
  • Informing patients, carers and families about their role in communicating this information
  • Providing access to resources or communication tools to support patients, carers and families to communicate critical information to clinicians.

Examples of mechanisms could include information provided on admission, posters, notices around patient areas, and messages on waiting-room TVs and the organisation’s website. Ensure that information is displayed in a way that can be easily noticed and read by patients, carers and families.

Processes to inform patients, carers and families about who they can communicate critical information to when it emerges or changes, at any time, are also important. This may involve displaying information about how, and to whom, patients, carers and families can communicate critical information in patient rooms and common areas. The information could include:

  • A photo board of care team members with their names and responsibilities
  • A phone number for patients, carers and families to call if they are concerned, particularly if they have been discharged from the organisation.

Examples of evidence

Select only examples currently in use:

  • Policy documents that outline how patients, carers and families are informed about the processes for communicating concerns to clinicians
  • Examples of information provided to patients, carers and families about processes for communicating concerns to the clinicians responsible for care
  • Resources or tools for patients, carers or families to use to communicate with clinicians, such as bedside whiteboards and dedicated free telephone services in waiting areas
  • Patient notes that identify critical information provided by the patient or family and how this information was acted on
  • Records of patient focus groups or minutes of patient-initiated team meetings
  • Results of a patient experience survey or patient, carer and family feedback about their communication with clinicians and, where necessary, how these results have informed improvement strategies.

MPS & Small Hospitals

MPSs or small hospitals will need to:

  • Develop and implement processes for patients and carers to communicate critical information and risks about their care
  • Support patients and carers to understand and use these processes.

Ensure that policies describe the processes for patients, carers and families to communicate critical information that has emerged or changed to the clinicians who are responsible for the patient’s care:

  • Before admission
  • At different points of care
  • After discharge.

This could include:

  • Informing patients, carers and families about what could be considered critical information
  • Informing patients, carers and families about their role in communicating this information
  • Providing access to resources or communication tools to support patients, carers and families to communicate critical information to clinicians.

Examples of mechanisms could include information provided on admission, posters, notices in wards or patient rooms, and messages on waiting-room TVs and the organisation’s website. Ensure that information is displayed in a way that can be easily noticed and read by patients, carers and families.

Processes to inform patients, carers and families about who they can communicate critical information to when it emerges or changes, at any time, are also important. This may involve displaying information about how, and to whom, patients, carers and families can communicate critical information in patient rooms and common areas. The information could include:

  • A photo board of care team members with contact details
  • A phone number (and available phone) for patients, carers and families to call if they are concerned
  • A section on the patient whiteboard that identifies who is responsible for their care at any given time and how they can contact them
  • Information about how patients and families may request a meeting with their clinician, or an integrated team meeting.

If possible, allocate specific times for patients, carers and families to communicate with their care team, rather than leaving patient and family queries to random encounters with the workforce.

An example of a tool for implementing this action is the REACH model (Recognise, Engage, Act, Call, Help is on its way) developed by the NSW Clinical Excellence Commission to enable patient- and family-activated escalation.