NASHVILLE, TENN. – When families are actively included in pediatric hospital rounds, preventable adverse events drop 38% and families report better hospital experiences, with no negative impact on rounds duration or teaching, according to a prospective investigation on inpatient pediatric units of seven North American hospitals.
“We [found] that families are excellent reporters of safety, which is an important takeaway for hospitals and hospitalists,” said lead researcher Alisa Khan, MD, from the division of general pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital.
“We always talk about how parents know their children better than anyone else; empowering the family to know what we are looking for can have downstream safety implications,” she said. In the study, families often caught problems before medical staff, such as IV infiltrations. They also reported delays in diagnoses and conflicting information, among other things, Dr. Khan explained at the Pediatric Hospital Medicine meeting.
There’s not much data on family-centered rounds in pediatric medicine, so Dr. Khan and her team decided to investigate. They modified the I-PASS resident handoff model (illness severity; patient summary; action list; situation awareness and contingency planning; and synthesis by receiver) to be more family friendly.
Families were given a short form before rounds that asked if their child was better, worse, or about the same as the day before, and what questions and items they wanted to address. There was also space for them to take notes during the presentation about what had changed overnight, what still needed to be done, and what to look out for.
Families were given the opportunity to speak first during rounds, and medical staff used plain language: “has a fever” instead of “febrile,” for instance. At the end of the presentation, families were asked to read back their take-aways.
The investigators compared baseline data from the 3 months before implementation with data for the 3 months afterward. The study included more than 1,500 patients and more than 300 rounds in both the pre- and postimplementation arms. The children were general inpatients; surgery and ICU patients were excluded.
Harmful errors/preventable AEs dropped from 20.7/1,000 patients days to 12.9/1,000 after implementation, a 38% reduction (P = .01). There was also a reduction in overall AEs from 34 to 18.5/1,000 patient-days (P = .002).
Compared with baseline data, after implementation, families were more likely to report that they understood the medical plan and what was said on rounds. They also were more likely to report that nurses had addressed their concerns and made them feel like an important member of the team.
Direct observation of pre- and postimplementation rounds showed that family and nursing engagement improved and families more often got written updates. There were no statistically significant differences in rounds duration or decreases in teaching.
“Congratulations. This is very impressive work, and also the right thing to do,” an audience member said after Dr. Khan’s presentation at the meeting, sponsored by the Society of Hospital Medicine, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Academic Pediatric Association.
The work was funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Dr. Khan had no disclosures.