Double-Duty Caregiving Plus (DoDuCa+)
Health professionals as family carers: a resource for patient safety?
The findings of the research project “Double-Duty Caregiving (DoDuCa) – health professionals at the interface between paid work and private commitment to sick, disabled or elderly relatives” (07/2015 – 12/2017) form the starting point for the “DoDuCa+” study.This provided a very clear picture of how those surveyed live out their dual role as family carers and health professionals and what they experience.
The nursing professionals surveyed described safety-related observations and situations and were particularly vigilant with the care of their loved ones in their role as a relative. They ensured the safety of their loved ones, asked questions and intervened. In particularly urgent situations, they also took action themselves, for example in the case of an intolerance reaction during a blood transfusion. Patient safety therefore proved to be a source of conflict in the interaction of those surveyed with the personnel involved.
In their dual role as family carers and health professionals, those surveyed were thus faced with a dilemma as to whether they should identify themselves as a nursing professional to the personnel involved. Because, although relatives are considered significant players in healthcare, the data collected also shows that those surveyed often did not achieve the desired goal with their intervention, for example when they asked about ambiguities or raised concerns.
The “DoDuCa+” study is being carried out with the aim of determining how relatives with relevant expertise should act in relation to safety-related incidents and deriving practical recommendations from this. The perspective of quality management and patient safety specialists is examined along with that of nursing professionals in different healthcare settings. In order to get to grips with the role of relatives, with or without relevant heathcare experience, in relation to safety-related incidents, special attention is given to two sources of danger: medication and hand hygiene.
The following research questions are addressed:
- From the perspective of healthcare providers, what role do relatives play in the care of their loved ones in relation to safety related incidents?
- How significant is the specialist knowledge of relatives? How relevant is the knowledge that has been acquired in a professional context?
- How do relatives – with and without relevant healthcare experience – contribute to preventing or correcting adverse events in practice?
- How are the safety-related interventions of relatives evaluated or assessed as appropriate or inappropriate?
Expert interviews with patient safety and quality management specialists who work in different care settings are being carried out methodically. Following this, a vignette study with nursing professionals in different healthcare settings is planned.
The “DoDuCa+” study is accompanied by a sounding board, including a health professional and relatives as well as a representative of a patient centre, in order to facilitate participation in research and consider the perspectives of the people concerned.
Careum Research: Prof. Dr. Iren Bischofberger, Anke Jähnke, Amelie Zentgraf, Alwin Abegg
June 2018–December 2019
Nursing Science Foundation Switzerland
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Jähnke, A., Liebert-Keller, Y., Käppeli, A., van Holten, K., & Bischofberger, I. (2017). «Wachsam? Aber sicher!» Gesundheitsfachpersonen als fachkundige Angehörige und ihre Rolle in der Patientensicherheit. Pflege, 30(6), 375–386. doi:10.1024/1012-5302/a000588
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