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Report from Quebec: Unintended Injury or Complications Occur Three Times More Often in Patients with Communication Problems

Report from Quebec: Unintended Injury or Complications Occur Three Times More Often in Patients with Communication Problems

June 18, 2008 In the News

Researchers evaluated records from 2,400 patients across 20 hospitals in Quebec. Patients with communication problems such as deafness, blindness, and psychiatric disorders were determined to be at three times the risk for unintended negative consequences secondary to delivery of care issues, rather than their diagnosed condition. Preventable adverse effects happened more in women that in men and occurred more in patients over age 65. Half the problems encountered were due to hearing difficulties. The most common errors involved drug errors, inappropriate treatment for the condition or failure to monitor the patient adequately. The authors noted almost half of all hospital-based adverse effects are preventable and that language barriers and communication problems decrease the quality of care received.

For More Information, References and Recommendations:
Gillian Bartlett, PhD, Régis Blais, PhD, Robyn Tamblyn, PhD, Richard J. Clermont, MD and Brenda MacGibbon, PhD (2008): Impact of patient communication problems on the risk of preventable adverse events in acute care settings. CMAJ • June 3, 2008; 178 (12). doi:10.1503/cmaj.070690.

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