Being Open: Communicating patient safety incidents with patients, their families and carers

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This NPSA best practice guide explains the principles of communicating openly and honestly to patients, families and carers following harm caused by patient safety incidents. It is aimed at all healthcare staff, from boards to front line clinicians.

Communicating with patients after harmful events can be extremely challenging for all involved, and yet research shows that being open with patients after things have gone wrong helps both patients and staff to better cope with the situation. Openness can also help to avoid formal complaints and litigation, and help organisations to learn constructively from safety events. 

The guide presents a detailed best practice framework that supports staff throughout the entire process, from acknowledgement to apology to ensuring continuity of care.

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