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“I’m trying to stop things before they happen": Carers’ contributions to patient safety in the hospital setting

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posted on 2022-06-03, 06:10 authored by Bronwen MernerBronwen Merner, Sophie HillSophie Hill, Michael Taylor
Patient safety policies increasingly encourage carer (i.e., family or friends) involvement in reducing health care–associated harm in hospital. Despite this, carer involvement in patient safety in practice is not well understood—especially from the carers’ perspective. The purpose of this article is to understand how carers of adult patients perceived and experienced their patient safety contributions in hospital. Constructivist grounded theory informed the data collection and analysis of in-depth interviews with 32 carers who had patient safety concerns in Australian hospitals. Results demonstrated carers engaged in the process of “patient-safety caring.” Patient-safety caring included three levels of intensity: low (“contributing without concern”), moderate (“being proactive about safety”), and high (“wrestling for control”). Carers who engaged at high intensity provided the patient with greater protection, but typically experienced negative consequences for themselves. Carers’ experiences of negative consequences from safety involvement need to be mitigated by practice approaches that value their contributions.


The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship and a Graduate Assistant Teaching Fellowship from La Trobe University.


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Qualitative Health Research






11p. (p. 1508-1518)





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© The Author(s) 2019. This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non- commercial. See: