New report emphasises importance of the ‘family voice’ in healthcare investigations

by Communications team

In our latest report, we have outlined our unique approach to working with patients and families with the aim of sharing that learning across the healthcare sector.

We have set out our experiences so that other organisations can reflect on how it may be applicable to their work. The report not only covers our principles and process for effective family engagement, but also how we evaluated the approach using feedback from families involved in investigations.

Feedback from families

HSIB’s process for effective family engagement has been developed through close collaboration with families who have been involved in investigations.

There are excerpts throughout the report sharing feedback from families. For example: “Communication throughout was excellent and considerate of the situation. The investigator visiting me at home and giving me time to tell my side of events put me at ease and gave me a voice.”

No national framework

HSIB recognises that there is currently no national framework or process to assist those working with families during investigations. In the report foreword, HSIB’s Chief Investigator, Keith Conradi says: “in the past decade, the healthcare sector has recognised the need to ensure it works with patients and families…however it is also recognised that undertaking family engagement of a high quality can be challenging, particularly when the guidance on how to do it is limited.”

The report also highlights some possible future developments, which includes a long-term aim of producing formal family engagement guidance which will be shared externally for organisations to access and use.

Learning and sharing

Louise Pye, our Head of Family Engagement, says: “Sharing what we have learnt so far gives us all the opportunity to improve and ensure that the family voice is reflected in the investigation – from the very first contact to the day that a report is published. The experiences of the patient and their family are important, and we know that ineffective engagement with families means they are excluded, and this reinforces the feeling that they have not been heard.

“This report is an open account of not only how we have approached family engagement, but how we have improved and adapted as we’ve learnt. We hope that this helps others who undertake investigations in a healthcare environment and provides for some a starting point for their own process.”

Read the report

For more information, download and read the family engagement national learning report.

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