Jennifer Moore, Marie Bismark and Michelle Mello have published a paper in JAMA entitled Patients’ Experiences With Communication-and-Resolution Programs After Medical Injury.

The introduction explains that the reported interview study of 40 US hospital patients, family members, and hospital staff found that patients have a strong need to be heard after medical injury that is often unmet.

Although 60% reported positive experiences with communication-and-resolution programs overall and continued to receive care at the hospital, they reported that hospitals rarely communicated information about efforts to prevent recurrences.

In their conclusion the authors make an interesting comment about the value of small gestures, saying:

The following 5 practices are supported by our interviews: (1) asking patients what form of communication (telephone, letter, or face to face) they prefer after the initial disclosure conversation, (2) giving injured patients a private room for the remainder of their stay, (3) using the term reconciliation instead of resolution, (4) asking patients a few months after the reconciliation process concludes whether they wish to provide feedback, and (5) reaching out to patients on the anniversary of the event to update them on what the hospital is doing to improve safety and assure them that they have not been forgotten.

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