Patients' and carers' perceptions of safety in rural general practice

Hernan, Andrea L., Walker, Christine, Fuller, Jeffrey, Johnson, Julie K., Elnour, Amr Abou and Dunbar, James A. (2014) Patients' and carers' perceptions of safety in rural general practice. Medical Journal of Australia, 201 3: S60-S63. doi:10.5694/mja14.00193

Author Hernan, Andrea L.
Walker, Christine
Fuller, Jeffrey
Johnson, Julie K.
Elnour, Amr Abou
Dunbar, James A.
Title Patients' and carers' perceptions of safety in rural general practice
Journal name Medical Journal of Australia   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0025-729X
Publication date 2014-08-04
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.5694/mja14.00193
Open Access Status
Volume 201
Issue 3
Start page S60
End page S63
Total pages 4
Place of publication Strawberry Hills, NSW Australia
Publisher Australasian Medical Publishing
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objectives: To explore patients’ and carers’ experiences of rural general practice to identify their perceptions of safety
of care.

Design, participants and setting: Four focus group interviews were conducted with 26 rural patients and carers in south-west Victoria between September and December 2012. Frequent users of general practice were recruited from local allied health self-management programs and a mothers’ group. Focus groups were audio recorded, transcripts were independently analysed and interpreted using narrative methodologies.

Results: Participants who had experienced some level of harm were able to comment more extensively on safety aspects of care. Several key themes related to safety were identifi ed from the analysis of all participant narratives.  An assumed sense of safety in general practice was predominant, and was infl uenced by participants’ level of risk awareness and trust in their general practitioner.  Additional unique themes included feelings of vulnerability, desire for an explanation and apology, a forgiving view of mistakes, and preference for GP interpersonal skills over competence.

Conclusions: This study revealed new insights into the factors that infl uence patients’ and carers’ perspectives of safety, and demonstrated the value of incorporating the patient voice into safety research. An assumed sense of safety due to a default position of trust, coupled with limited risk perception, directly contests the current literature on patient involvement in safety. Further exploration is required to determine how patients and carers can eff ectively engage in and assist with improving safety in general practice.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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