Polish Archives of Internal Medicine vol:124 issue:6 pages:313-320
Introduction After an adverse event, not only do patients and family members become victims, but healthcare professionals involved in the event also suffer. More than 50% of all healthcare professionals suffer emotionally and professionally after being involved in an adverse event. Support is needed for these “second victims” to prevent a further negative impact on patient care.
Objectives To evaluate the prevalence and content of organizational-level support systems for healthcare professionals involved in an adverse event.
Methods A survey was sent to 109 Belgian hospitals regarding two aspects: first, the availability of a protocol for supporting second victims; and, second, the presence of a contact person in the organization to provide support. Fifty-nine (59) hospitals participated in the study. Based on these results, hospitals were asked to submit their protocols for providing support to second victims. A content analysis based on an Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s white paper and the Scott Model was performed to evaluate the protocols.
Results Thirty (30) organizations have a systematic plan to support second victims. Twelve percent (12%) cannot identify a contact person. The chief nursing officer is seen as one of the main contact people when something goes wrong. In terms of the quality of the protocols, only a minority follow part of the international resources
Conclusions A minority of hospitals are somewhat prepared to provide support for healthcare professionals. Management should take a leadership role in establishing support protocols for their healthcare professionals in the aftermath of an adverse event.