The Portal of Geriatrics Online Education

Patient Safety

Elder Care: A Resource for Interprofessional Providers: Driving and the Older Adult

:  
Date Posted: 
12/31/1969
Date Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 
12/31/1969
Other Sponsors: 
Product Information
Estimated time to complete: 
1
Abstract: 

Driving and the Older Adult: is one of a continuing series of practical, evidence based, Provider Fact Sheets which summarize key geriatric topics and provide clinically useful assessments and interventions. Initially developed for remote, rural clinical sites, they are useful for students and health care professionals from many fields and across a very broad range of health care settings.

Educational objectives: 

Objectives:

  1. State whether or not patients with dementia can pass a driving road test
  2. List 3 key steps to be taken when evaluating the driving safety of older adults
  3. Look up your state’s laws regarding requirements for reporting unsafe drivers
Additional information/Special implementation requirements or guidelines: 

Subscribers to POGOe are free to reprint Elder Care on their own stationery or in other publications without obtaining specific permission, so long as

  1. content is not changed,
  2. no one is charged a fee to use or read the publication,
  3. authors and their affiliated institutions are noted without change, and
  4. the reprint includes the following statement: “Reprinted courtesy of the Arizona Reynolds Program of Applied Geriatrics and the Arizona Geriatric Education Center."

Elder Care Provider Sheets can also be accessed at http://www.reynolds.med.arizona.edu/EduProducts/ElderCareProviderSheets.cfm.

Publications from, presentations from, and/or citations to this product: 
The Elder Care provider sheets are occasionally published in the Arizona Geriatrics Society Journal, which is published twice yearly.
Date posted: 
Fri, 06/30/2017
Date Submitted or Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 
Fri, 06/30/2017
Contact Person/Corresponding Author:



Suggested Citation:
Elder Care: A Resource for Interprofessional Providers: Driving and the Older Adult. POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2017 Available from: https://pogoe.org/taxonomy/term/1089

A Checklist for a Home Visit of a Recently Hospitalized Geriatric Patient

:  
Date Posted: 
12/31/1969
Date Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 
12/31/1969
Other Learning Resource Type: 
Product Information
Abstract: 

The home visit form and the accompanying checklist are used to facilitate geriatric assessments after discharge from the hospital.

Educational objectives: 

To assist sub-interns visiting older patients, recently discharged from hospital, in their homes in order to follow-up with their medical care.

Date posted: 
Fri, 04/27/2012
Date Submitted or Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 
Fri, 04/27/2012
Contact Person/Corresponding Author:



Suggested Citation:
A Checklist for a Home Visit of a Recently Hospitalized Geriatric Patient. POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2012 Available from: https://pogoe.org/taxonomy/term/1089

Delirium in Hospitalized Older Patients - A Fact Sheet and a Pre/Post-Test

:  
Date Posted: 
12/31/1969
Date Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 
12/31/1969
Product Information
Abstract: 

This fact sheet, along with the accompanying pre- and post-test, teaches physicians-in-training to effectively diagnose, manage and prevent delirium in older patients.

Educational objectives: 

Goals:

  1. Teach learners about delirium in hospitalized older patients;
  2. Reduce the incidence of delirium in hospitalized older patients, and
  3. Improve the care of hospitalized older patients with delirium.

Objectives:

Learners will be able to define delirium in older patients, and learn about its epidemiology, predisposing factors, pathophysiology, precipating factors and causes, differential diagnoses, clinical features, clinical assessment and evaluation, diagnostic work-up, prevention, treatment and complications.

Date posted: 
Wed, 08/31/2011
Date Submitted or Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 
Wed, 08/31/2011
Contact Person/Corresponding Author:



Suggested Citation:
Delirium in Hospitalized Older Patients - A Fact Sheet and a Pre/Post-Test. POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2011 Available from: https://pogoe.org/taxonomy/term/1089

This Caring Home

:  
Date Posted: 
12/31/1969
Date Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 
12/31/1969
Other Learning Resource Type: 
Product Information
Abstract: 

An animated web-based educational tool providing tips to enhance home safety for persons with Alzheimer's and other types of dementia. Highlights include a virtual home, product guides, videos and animations.

Additional information/Special implementation requirements or guidelines: 

ThisCaringHome.org is an award-winning website that can help caregivers learn new strategies that enhance the safety and well-being of their loved ones. A unique and beneficial part of this website is its Home Safety Section that allows caregivers to explore research-based solutions to home safety and daily care issues by a simple mouse click over a room. Learn about best practices and simple everyday solutions including:

  • 7 Steps to Better Bathing
  • Better Mealtimes
  • Cooking Safety
  • Smart Home Technologies
  • Activities to Reduce Agitation

Prepared by experts at Weill Cornell Medical College, this website features videos, animations, and photographs, as well as reviews of home furnishings, smart technologies, and homecare products. 

Publications from, presentations from, and/or citations to this product: 

Winner of the 2010 National Alzheimer's Caregiver Award, awarded by the National Alliance of Caregivers and MetLife Foundation

Date posted: 
Wed, 10/20/2010
Date Submitted or Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 
Wed, 10/20/2010
Contact Person/Corresponding Author:



Suggested Citation:
This Caring Home. POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2010 Available from: https://pogoe.org/taxonomy/term/1089

Aging Q3 Curriculum on Falls and Mobility of Older Adult Patients

:  
Date Posted: 
12/31/1969
Date Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 
12/31/1969
Other Learning Resource Type: 
Product Information
Estimated time to complete: 
0
Abstract: 

Using the Assessing Care of Vulnerable Elders (or ACOVE) paradigm and the principles of Academic Detailing, Aging Q3 is developing curricula on 16 different topics for teaching residents about providing quality care to elderly patients. Aging Q3 uses a sequence of multiple interventions where residents learn and experience the practice of Geriatrics in the clinical setting with limited interruption to the process of patient care. Each ACOVE is featured for 3 months. The curriculum includes a resident lecture during one of the residents' scheduled noon conferences, a handout used by the faculty to detail the resident on the issue during precepting or rounds, a poster which is displayed strategically in resident areas of the hospital and clinic, and observed demonstration and assessment of a defined skill. Residents are "cued" to address the featured issue with their elder patients by a "Blue Sheet" which contains a few brief questions on the ACOVE topic that the Patient Care Technician or Nurse have discussed with the patient during intake. Residents are assessed pre and post on knowledge, skill, and attitude by a Survey Monkey questionnaire.

The Falls and Mobility "ACOVE" is number 2 of 16 different curricula being developed in Aging Q3.

Educational objectives: 
  1. Recognize the risk factors, consequences, and interventions associated with falls in the older adult patient. 
  2. Demonstrate a "Timed Up and Go" test on an older adult patient.
Publications from, presentations from, and/or citations to this product: 

Caton C, Wiley MK, Zhao Y, Moran WP, Zapka J. Improving internal medicine residents' falls assessment and evaluation: an interdisciplinary, multistrategy program. J Am Geriatr Soc. Oct 2011;59(10):1941-1946. Also available online

Date posted: 
Thu, 08/23/2012
Date Submitted or Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 
Thu, 08/23/2012
Contact Person/Corresponding Author:



Suggested Citation:
, and . Aging Q3 Curriculum on Falls and Mobility of Older Adult Patients. POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2012 Available from: https://pogoe.org/taxonomy/term/1089

Eliminate Hazards in Your Home: A Safety Checklist with Recommendations

:  
Date Posted: 
12/31/1969
Date Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 
12/31/1969
Product Information
Abstract: 
Each year, many older adults suffer accidental injuries in and around the home or are victims of crime in their home. Falls, fires, or burglaries can result in substantial injury or even death. This checklist is designed as a survey tool to be used during a home safety evaluation. It assesses various aspects of safety in and around the home. For each concern identified, one or more recommendations are provided for improving safety, many of which can be accomplished with little or no cost. A copy of the completed checklist is given to the person whose home has been evaluated.
Educational objectives: 
  1. To identify safety concerns in and around the home that place an older adult at risk for falls and other unintentional injuries and make them more susceptible to becoming victims of crime.
  2. To make targeted recommendations to address safety concerns identified.
Additional information/Special implementation requirements or guidelines: 

This checklist is designed for medical students, primary care residents, and other healthcare trainees and professionals who participate in the evaluation of older adults in the home. It is helpful if the learner has received basic instruction on home safety evaluation as this will help them complete a more in-depth assessment. This checklist can also be used as a patient education tool. Prior to going to an older adult's home to complete the safety assessment, we recommend users review the following online training module: Home Safety Assessment.

Although many schools have an elderly home visit experience in the pre-clinical years, often the only outcome obtained is student or elder satisfaction with the encounter. This checklist allows the student to make specific recommendations regarding improving the safety of their elder volunteer in and around their home. The content of the checklist is clearly linked to that of the home safety assessment training module. As shown above, we have measured an increased awareness of safety factors in students' reports as well as an increased number of recommendations made to the elder volunteers.

At the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, first year medical students (in pairs) complete three home visits with active older adults residing in the community. During their final visit they complete a home safety assessment using a home safety checklist. Subsequently each student independently completes an online report in which they answer several questions related to their elder's safety. One of the questions asks them to describe their elder's home environment and strategies to reduce fall risk. Students are instructed to include a description of specific environmental observations and modifications useful in reducing fall risk.

This home visit has been part of the curriculum for eight years. Prior to 2005 students attended a one-hour lecture on home safety assessment before making the home visit. They used a pre-existing checklist which allowed them to check off problem areas; recommendations were provided on separate pages. For the past two years, students have used the home safety assessment training module as advance preparation for the home visit and this new checklist during their visit. To evaluate the effectiveness of the curricular changes, we compared the written reports of two cohorts: cohort 1 completed the curriculum immediately before revisions and cohort 2 received the new curriculum.

To rate the written submissions, we developed a 33-item checklist containing a broad range of home-safety elements (e.g., handrails, throw rugs, stairs, lighting). We then marked whether one or both student in a pair (cohort 1 N = 75 and cohort 2 N = 86) commented on the presence or absence of the element, and whether they documented specific recommendations. The average number of elements documented in the reports increased from 4.8 to 8.2 and the average number of recommendations mentioned increased from 2.5 to 3.3.
 

Publications from, presentations from, and/or citations to this product: 

Rodriguez O, Tunuguntla R, van Zuilen MH, Ruiz JG, Mintzer MJ. Blended-learning improves medical student competency in home safety assessment of older persons. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 55(Supplement):S10, 2007

Date posted: 
Fri, 09/17/2010
Date Submitted or Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 
Fri, 09/17/2010
Contact Person/Corresponding Author:



Suggested Citation:
, and . Eliminate Hazards in Your Home: A Safety Checklist with Recommendations. POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2010 Available from: https://pogoe.org/taxonomy/term/1089

SAFE-T from Babe to Sage: Injury Related Anticipatory Guidance Across the Age Continuum

:  
Date Posted: 
12/31/1969
Date Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 
12/31/1969
Product Information
Estimated time to complete: 
1
Abstract: 

Given many common themes in pediatric, adult, and geriatric injury prevention, we designed an anticipatory guidance pocket card with the mnemonic SAFE-T, encompassing topic areas of supervision, abuse, falls, environment, and travel. Each topic area is subdivided into areas of high injury risk, and then preventative guidance is provided. 

Educational objectives: 

Use a single mnemonic device that is applicable across the continuum of life to teach injury-related anticipatory guidance.

Additional information/Special implementation requirements or guidelines: 

Purpose: Unintentional injury constitutes the fifth leading cause of mortality in the United States, and nineth among adults greater than 65years of age. In contrast to pediatric curricula, there is little formal training on injury anticipatory guidance for elderly and vulnerable patients in either inpatient or outpatient settings. Medical students and resident physicians are often not taught to discuss anticipatory issues other than smoke alarms, seatbelts, bike helmets, and preventative screening, nor are they taught to approach these in a disease specific way. While general injury prevention can be linked to developmental stage and age in pediatrics, the non-linear decline in health of an older patient makes generalized anticipatory guidance more difficult. 

Method: Given many common themes in pediatric, adult, and geriatric injury prevention, we designed an anticipatory guidance pocket card with the mnemonic SAFE-T, encompassing topic areas of supervision, abuse, falls, environment, and travel. Each topic area is subdivided into areas of high injury risk, and then preventative guidance is provided. Traditional pediatric guidance is done by developmental stage and age. The geriatric anticipatory guidance looks at trigger conditions (diseases, comorbidities, cognitive decline) and links these to the injury risk and preventative strategy.

The powerpoint is an instruction guide to the SAFE-T card.  Two versions of the SAFE-T card are included - a color version and a greyscale.

Publications from, presentations from, and/or citations to this product: 

Presented at the Presidential Poster Session, 2010 American Geriatrics Society National Meeting, Orlando, FL. Presented at the AGS Educator's Materials and Methods Swap, 2010 American Geriatrics Society National Meeting, Orlando, FL.

Date posted: 
Sat, 10/16/2010
Date Submitted or Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 
Sat, 10/16/2010
Contact Person/Corresponding Author:



Suggested Citation:
, , , and . SAFE-T from Babe to Sage: Injury Related Anticipatory Guidance Across the Age Continuum. POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2010 Available from: https://pogoe.org/taxonomy/term/1089

Using a checklist to evaluate hospitalized patients who suffer a fall

:  
Date Posted: 
12/31/1969
Date Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 
12/31/1969
Other Sponsors: 
Product Information
Estimated time to complete: 
1
Abstract: 

This 45 minute Power Point presentation is designed to provide trainees and practicing hospitalists with an approach to the evaluation of hospitalized patients who fall. It was originally developed to provide advice to interns and residents at the University of New Mexico upon implementation of our hospital’s multidisciplinary falls prevention program.  It is case-based, includes a brief review of the evidenced-based literature, and then gives the authors’ opinions about how best to approach this situation. Also included is a list of pertinent literature and a multidisciplinary checklist, developed by the authors and used at the University of New Mexico Hospital.

Educational objectives: 

1. Identify at least 3 factors that are epidemiologically associated with falls in the elderly.

2. State the most common etiology of falling in the elderly.

3. Summarize the epidemiology of in-patient falls.

4. Describe the three steps in evaluating the in-patient who  falls

5. Demonstrate an appropriate bedside evaluation for injury of an in-patient who has fallen. 

6. Demonstrate how a multi-disciplinary team can use a checklist to evaluate and manage a hospitalized patient who has fallen.

Additional information/Special implementation requirements or guidelines: 

This presentation was specifically designed for the in-patient hospital setting. The authors do not advocate using this approach in other settings (such as emergency departments, skilled nursing facilities, or nursing homes). Many of the recommendations are based on the authors’ opinions as there is little-evidenced based literature in this area. The authors are formally studying the clinical usefulness of the checklist, and are especially interested in comments, critical appraisals, and similar experience of others. Contact the authors at jrpierce@salud.unm.edu.

Publications from, presentations from, and/or citations to this product: 

Pierce JR Jr, Kearney D, Cumbler E. Development of a post-fall multidisciplinary checklist to evaluate the in-patient fall [abstract]. Society of Hospital Medicine, 05/13/2011, Dallas, TX

Date posted: 
Fri, 10/07/2016
Date Submitted or Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 
Fri, 10/07/2016
Contact Person/Corresponding Author:



Suggested Citation:
, and . Using a checklist to evaluate hospitalized patients who suffer a fall. POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2016 Available from: https://pogoe.org/taxonomy/term/1089

Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP)

:  
Date Posted: 
12/31/1969
Date Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 
12/31/1969
Other Intended Learner Audiences: 
Product Information
Abstract: 

DELIRIUM PREVENTION:  THE HOSPITAL ELDER LIFE PROGRAM (HELP)

These materials provide background, organizational, and training materials that will allow you to set up a Hospital Elder Life Program at your institution. This is an innovative model of care designed to prevent delirium and functional decline, and is available for your use free of charge. Setting up a HELP program is not a small undertaking, and will require considerable commitment on your part.  We hope these materials will help you on your journey. 

Sharon K. Inouye, MD, MPH

Educational objectives: 

Background on Delirium:  

Delirium, an acute decline in attention and cognition, is a common, life-threatening, and potentially preventable clinical syndrome in older persons.  The development of delirium often initiates a cascade of events culminating in loss of independence, increased morbidity and mortality, and accelerated health care costs.  Delirium in older hospitalized patients has assumed particular importance because patients age > 65 years currently account for more than 49% of all days of hospital care.  We estimate that delirium complicates hospital stays for at least 20% of the 12.5 million persons age ≥ 65 years hospitalized each year, and increases hospital costs by $2,500 per patient, an amount that extrapolates to over $6.9 billion (2004 USD) of Medicare hospital expenditures attributable to delirium.  Substantial additional costs accrue after hospital discharge because of the need for institutionalization, rehabilitation services, formal home health care, and informal caregiving.  These figures underscore the vast clinical and health policy implications of delirium (Inouye SK, NEJM  2006;354:1157-65).  Moreover, with the aging of the U.S. population, delirium is a problem that is likely to increase in the future.  Finding ways to prevent delirium, such as the Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) program, will allow us to improve quality of life and healthcare for these vulnerable patients. 

The Hospital Elder Life Program

The Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) is an innovative model of care, designed to prevent delirium and functional decline in hospitalized older persons (Inouye SKNEJM 1999;340:669-76; JAGS 2000; 48:1697-706; JAGS  2006;54:1492-9).  The program trains skilled interdisciplinary staff and volunteers to carry out intervention protocols targeted toward six delirium risk factors: orientation, therapeutic activities, early mobilization, vision and hearing protocols, oral volume repletion, and sleep enhancement.  The program is designed to be superimposed on existing hospital units, and does not require a separate, dedicated geriatric unit.  HELP has been demonstrated to be effective for prevention of delirium, as well as for prevention of cognitive and functional decline. Cost-effectiveness has been demonstrated previously for both acute hospital costs (Rizzo JAMed Care. 2001;39:740-52; Leslie DL JAGS 2005; 53:405-9) and for long-term nursing home placement costs.  In addition, cost savings of over $1.25 million per year (on one hospital unit) were demonstrated at a U.S. hospital where HELP was established (Rubin FH JAGS2006;54:969-74)and in Australia in a capitated system (Caplan GA. Int Med J 2007; 37:95–100).  These cost savings were attributed to a shorter length of stay and reduction in variable costs of over 50%.   Finally, the HELP model is effective for prevention of falls, pressure sores, and other iatrogenic complications of hospitalization (Bradley EH.Journal of Healthcare Management 2006; 51:323-37).  The unique strengths of the HELP model, which contribute to its effectiveness, include the targeted nature of the interventions, early intervention focusing on prevention, well-trained staff dedicated to the program, standardized intervention protocols, tracking of adherence to all protocols, and built-in quality assurance procedures.  As of 2010, the program has been disseminated to over 64 hospitals in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Netherlands, Singapore and Taiwan. 

Importantly, the Hospital Elder Life Program has been successful at returning older adults to their homes or previous living situations with maintained or improved ability to function, and results in a high degree of satisfaction with care. 

Additional information/Special implementation requirements or guidelines: 

Program Materials

You will find on this website the manuals and DVD which are designed to help you implement the HELP model of care.  There are other tools/materials presented that are available on the HELP website (hospitalelderlifeprogram.org). To access these materials on the HELP website you will have to create a user account. Once you do so you can go to the link on the left side of the page labeled "Program Materials". To assure program effectiveness, we hope that you will implement this model carefully and with close fidelity to the original model.  

Business Tools (HELP Website)

The first step for successful implementation of the Hospital Elder Life Program is to convince key decision-makers at your organization of its value. This involves putting yourself in the position of these decision-makers and providing convincing arguments for the program. HELP is demonstrably effective in preventing delirium but "selling" your administration on the program involves translating this improvement in the quality of care into measures that are meaningful to decision-makers—measure such as reductions in length of stay or in re-hospitalizations. 

The HELP Business Tools provide you with what you need to build support for HELP in your organization. Included in this resource are:

  • A Power Point presentation that you can use in your hospital
  • A questionnaire designed to help you collect relevant data about patient demographics and hospital utilization that will help you design a program with maximum impact
  • A set of excel worksheet tools

Manuals

There are 4 Hospital Elder Life Program Manuals included here. We have provided capsule descriptions of each below.

The Organizational and Procedural Manual (Overview and Structure) provides a comprehensive administrative overview of the program. The manual covers: program goals; establishing facility support; setting up the program; administrative structure; quality assurance procedures; strategies to improve adherence; and the volunteer component. 

The Organizational and Procedural Manual (The Clinical Process) contains a detailed overview of the clinical components of HELP as they relate to older people. Sections are arranged chronologically (in order of how procedures would be applied in the hospitalization of an individual patient). The sections include: the screening and enrollment process, the interventions, and discharge and post-discharge procedures. Interventions are organized by the personnel involved (volunteer, geriatric nursing and interdisciplinary). Also included are educational interventions to improve geriatric expertise and references.

The Database Manual provides all of the assessments and data collection forms required for the program. Sample forms and worksheets are provided for all members of the HELP team.  This paper-based system will allow any program to operate even without computer support initially. 

The Volunteer Training Manual covers all program interventions for the volunteers who will perform them. Separate sections in the manual cover the daily visitor program, the therapeutic activities program, the early mobilization program and the feeding assistance program. The manual includes information on the overall volunteer responsibilities, and provides step-by-step training instructions for the volunteers. This manual is designed to be used in conjunction with the volunteer training DVD. 

DVD

This DVD provides an overview of the HELP program for staff, as well as an introduction for volunteers.  It also illustrates each of the HELP volunteer interventions visually for training purposes.  The DVD sections are:

  • Overview for Staff
  • Volunteer Introduction
  • Daily Visitor
  • Therapeutic Recreation
  • Early Mobilization
  • Feeding Assistance

For Assistance

Please note that Dr. Inouye is not available to answer your questions directly.  The HELP website provides a wealth of resources to support you as you implement the Hospital Elder Life Program delirium prevention model.  More resources—including a complete listing of HELP Centers of Excellence and a discussion forum--will appear on the website in the near future.  Welcome on board!

<www.hospitalelderlifeprogram.org>

For brief questions only, you can email us at:  ElderLife@hrca.harvard.edu. A HELP consultant will answer targeted email questions within about 5 working days.

Date posted: 
Fri, 01/01/2010
Date Submitted or Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 
Thu, 07/29/2010
Product Viewing Instructions: 
You will need to register for an account and fill out a brief questionnaire before gaining access to the materials.
Contact Person/Corresponding Author:



Suggested Citation:
Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP). POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2010 Available from: https://pogoe.org/taxonomy/term/1089

Health Literacy and Patient Safety: Help Patients Understand

:  
Date Posted: 
12/31/1969
Date Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 
12/31/1969
Product Information
Estimated time to complete: 
3
Abstract: 

This manual reviews the problem of health literacy, its consequences for the health care system, and the likelihood that a clinician’s practice includes patients with limited literacy. The manual then provides practical tips for clinicians to use in making their office practices more “user friendly” to patients with limited literacy, and gives suggestions for improving interpersonal communication between clinicians and patients. Finally, the manual concludes with several “case discussions” based on vignettes in the accompanying instructional video.

Educational objectives: 

MANUAL FOR PHYSICIANS
The enclosed materials will enable physicians to:

  • Define the scope of the health literacy problem.
  • Recognize health system barriers faced by patients with low literacy.
  • Implement improved methods of verbal and written communication.
  • Incorporate practical strategies to create a shame-free environment.

REDUCING THE RISK
The activity will enable physicians to:

  • Define the scope of patient safety problems caused by low health literacy and the need to manage the risk they present
  • Recognize the ethical and legal foundations for safe medical practices and patient-centered care
  • Explain patient safety concepts and approaches utilized in designing safer practice environments
  • Identify patient safety practices that reduce the risk of miscommunication and optimize the patient’s ability to safely manage their own care
  • Determine steps toward establishing a climate for change
  • Identify tools and resources for creating safer practice environments
  • Demonstrate how to utilize and implement these tools in a practice environment
Additional information/Special implementation requirements or guidelines: 

Communication is essential for the effective delivery of health care, and is one of the most powerful tools in a clinician’s arsenal. Unfortunately, there is often a mismatch between a clinician’s level of communication and a patient’s level of comprehension. In fact, evidence shows that patients often misinterpret or do not understand much of the information given to them by clinicians. This lack of understanding can lead to medication errors, missed appointments, adverse medical outcomes, and even malpractice lawsuits. Clinicians can most readily improve what patients know about their health care by confirming that patients understand what they need to know and by adopting a more patient-friendly communication style that encourages questions.

Date posted: 
Tue, 09/21/2010
Date Submitted or Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 
Tue, 09/21/2010
Contact Person/Corresponding Author:



Suggested Citation:
, and . Health Literacy and Patient Safety: Help Patients Understand. POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2010 Available from: https://pogoe.org/taxonomy/term/1089

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