Ensuring informed consent is properly obtained is a legal, ethical and professional requirement on the part of all treating health professionals and supports person-centred care.
Processes for matching patients to their intended procedure, treatment or investigation are essential for ensuring that the right patient receives the right care. Most health service organisations have processes in place for patient identification and procedure matching but these may not be formally documented.
Communicating for safety involves the accurate and careful exchange of information about a person's care between treating clinicians, members of a multidisciplinary team, and between clinicians and patients, families and carers.
The Commission has developed a number of resources to support safe communication.
Effective clinical communication is two-way (or multi-way if between teams), structured and continuous communication that results in timely, accurate and appropriate transfer of information.
For communication to be effective it needs to be tailored, open, honest, and respectful, with opportunities for clarification and feedback.
The tools and solutions developed through the National Clinical Handover Initiative Pilot Program are available on this page.
The portal has guidance, tools and resources to support the core skills for communicating for safety. It links to, and supports, work undertaken by Australian health service organisations in the areas of clinical communication and can be used as a resource for further learning.
The World Health Organization Surgical Safety Checklist has been demonstrated to improve patient safety and is now widely used in Australia as the nationally agreed strategy for surgical safety.
There is consistent evidence that patient/procedure mismatching also occur in areas other than surgery. Protocols have been developed to support matching of patients to their care in the areas of radiology, nuclear medicine, radiation therapy and oral surgery.
Wristbands containing patient information have been the standard method of identifying patients in hospitals for many years. There is evidence, that suggests that there are patient safety risks associated with the use of patient identification bands.
The Ensuring correct patient, correct site, correct procedure protocol for surgery has been superseded and is included here for historical reference only.
The Pilot Program was conducted in 2007–2009, and involved 14 public and private sector organisations funded to develop and trial practical and transferable tools for improving clinical handover.
The Toolkit comprises a range of project management tools and resources to assist with clinical handover improvement and has been adapted for use in all healthcare settings.
This is a national guide to improve clinical handover practices at shift change in a hospital setting. It assists with the implementation of a standardised process for handover, which is customised to suit the local context.
Transferring patient care between healthcare providers or locations is a high risk situation, with an increased risk of communication errors at these times. Effective clinical handover, which is structured and standardised, can improve patient safety.
Patient identification and the matching of a patient to an intended treatment is performed routinely in all care settings. Incorrect identification can result in wrong person, wrong site procedures, medication errors, transfusion errors and diagnostic testing errors.