Case in the Spotlight 16 - Answer & Discussion
The patient has a fractured left distal radius
Further action required
- Management today – analgesia, plaster, orthopaedic opinion and follow up in the fracture clinic. Good documentation.
- Management of the missed fracture
Management of complaints
- Open disclosure – discussion with the patient, usually involves a senior medical staff member, an apology
- Complaints management – again, involve a senior staff member, and be aware that all hospitals have a policy that should be followed.
- Quality improvement – report the incident, and then the supervisor will arrangement follow up with the individual, and perhaps education to the individual +/- include in general education program
- In Victoria most hospitals have an incident reporting system. Eg RISKMAN.
- Supervision of the staff, reviewing the films, vs discuss with the liaison radiologist, vs seeing the formal report
- Did you know that all formal reports are included on a watchlist in the ED, and this provides a safety net for results?
General advice re management of complaints
This is an unofficial guide, based on advice from multiple people
A specific, usually senior, person usually handles complaints in a department.
Complaints to be managed consistently and taken seriously
Enquire about the welfare of the patient
Patience, empathy, and listening skills are important
Each complaint managed thoroughly
- Acknowledge written and verbal complaints promptly - often the health service consumer liaison person will arrange this
- Review the medical record
- Speak to the complainant
- Speak personally to individuals involved
Answer complaints taking care re judgements and emotions. Apologise sincerely and honestly even if not admitting liability. To apologise that an incident has occurred is common courtesy
Complainants should be thanked for raising their concerns, and reassured that we will review and take any opportunity to learn and improve patient care and communication
Notification and reporting
- Health service administration – e.g supervisors
- Medical Defence
- Media liaison – if appropriate, usually consumer liaison and senior management
Follow up action
- Feedback to the complainant
- Feedback to the individual
- Education or review of systems and processes may be warranted to prevent further events