Parents fear errors during children's hospitalization

Aug 03, 2009

Nearly two-thirds of parents reported they felt the need to watch over their child's care to ensure that medical errors are not made during their hospital stay, according to a study led by Beth A. Tarini, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Michigan Medical School.

In particular, whose first language is not English were more likely to report the need to be vigilant about their child's care.

This is the first study to document parental concerns about medical errors during a child's hospitalization.

Researchers also found that parents who were more confident in communicating with physicians were less likely to be concerned about medical mistakes.

"We need to address parents' concerns about errors and find ways to make them feel comfortable talking to us about their child's care," Tarini says. "Parents are an underutilized resource in our efforts to prevent medical errors."

This study, which appears July 30 in the Journal of Hospital Medicine, surveyed 278 parents of children who were hospitalized at the Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Center in Seattle, Wash., in 2005.

Medical errors are linked to between 48,000 and 98,000 deaths a year, according to the Institute of Medicine, and are linked to increases in length of stay, health care costs and death. Doctors and hospitals have focused on processes and systems as a way to prevent medical errors, but little work has been done in investigating the experiences of patients and their potential role in preventing errors.

The Joint Commission and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality currently recommend that parents help prevent errors by becoming actively involved and informed members of their health care team and taking part in every decision about their child's .

This study is an important step toward characterizing the scope of parental concern about medical errors during pediatric hospitalizations and understanding its relationship toward communication between parents and physicians, Tarini says.

Devising a quality initiative program to improve parents' confidence interacting with doctors may help to temper parents' concerns about while also encouraging their involvement in their child's medical care, the researchers suggest.

Source: University of Michigan Health System (news : web)

Explore further: Electronic health records tied to shorter time in ER

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Children's asthma affected by parental expectations

Oct 06, 2008

Asthmatic children whose parents have high expectations for their ability to function normally are less likely to have symptoms than other children dealing with the condition, according to a new study. Children also are more ...

Parents are the unsung heroes

Nov 26, 2008

It's a parents worst nightmare, a newborn baby going under the knife to repair a heart defect. If the baby survives, that's when the real work begins for parents. University of Alberta nursing professor Gwen Rempel has seen ...

Survey: Ask permission to use newborn data, parents say

Jul 15, 2009

More than three-quarters of parents would be willing to permit the use of their children's newborn screening samples for research purposes if their permission were obtained beforehand, a University of Michigan survey shows.

New strategy helps reduce errors in obstetrical care

Feb 03, 2008

Researchers at Yale School of Medicine have implemented patient safety enhancements to dramatically reduce errors and improve the staff’s own perception of the safety climate in obstetrical care.

Recommended for you

Electronic health records tied to shorter time in ER

Sep 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—Length of emergency room stay for trauma patients is shorter with the use of electronic health records, according to a study published in the September issue of the Journal of Emergency Nursing.

CDC: Almost everyone needs a flu shot

Sep 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—Less than half of all Americans got a flu shot last year, so U.S. health officials on Thursday urged that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated for the coming flu season. "It's really unfortunate ...

User comments : 0