english.prescrire.org > Spotlight > 100 most recent > Hospitalised children: errors detected by parents and family members


Every month, the subjects in Prescrire’s Spotlight.

100 most recent :  1 | 10 | 20 | 30 | 40 | 50 | 60 | 70 | 80 | 90

Hospitalised children: errors detected by parents and family members

During a child's hospitalisation, family members often detect adverse events and errors which are not noticed or reported by caregivers.

Hospitalised children are sometimes victims of adverse healthcare-related events. These events are sometimes preventable, i.e. they result from errors or failures. Several studies carried out in Canada and the United States of America, on hundreds of children, have shown that the parents and families of children are an invaluable source of information regarding these errors and preventable adverse events.

Since their perception differs from that of healthcare professionals, parents and families can spot errors which would otherwise be overlooked. In one Canadian study, parents and families of children detected 20% of the recorded errors, half of which had not been otherwise noticed.

The potential to raise the alarm and to intercept care-related errors means that family members play an important role in the safety of their children. In one study, parents attributed these errors mainly to communication problems: between healthcare professionals and parents, who sometimes had to call a staff member up to 5 times; between healthcare professionals, for example day and night teams failing to communicate a change in the insulin dose; or via the medical record, for example making entries in the notes for another child.

Parents and other family members should be considered as important contributors to the safety of their children's care. It is important to listen to them and actively involve them.

©Prescrire 1 March 2018

"Care of children in hospital: unnoticed errors are detected by the parents" Prescrire Int 2018; 27 (191): 69-70. (Pdf, subscribers only).

Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Download the full review.
Pdf, subscribers only