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A framework to support risk assessment in hospitals

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Ward, JR 
Clarkson, Peter John 


In healthcare, risk assessment is used alongside a number of reactive risk management approaches to ensure the quality and safety of the care delivered. However, problems have been identified regarding its current application in hospitals, despite the considerable efforts made. In this paper, we present a framework that aims to address these current challenges and to guide staff working in healthcare settings in undertaking an effective risk assessment in hospitals. We report on the design of this framework, where we used a V developmental model, in conjunction with mixed methods, including interviews, document analysis and group discussions. The framework consists of a risk assessment model that depicts the main risk assessment steps; risk assessment explanation cards that provide prompts to help apply each step; and a risk assessment form that helps to systematise the risk assessment and document the findings. We also report on the evaluation of the framework, which shows promising results. While the framework was recommended for use in practice, it was also suggested that it would be helpful as a training tool. With its use in risk assessment, we anticipate that risk assessments would lead to more effective decisions being made, and, thus, to more appropriate actions being taken to minimise risks. Consequently, the quality and safety of care delivered would be improved.



risk assessment, design for safety, patient safety, risk management, guidelines

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International Journal for Quality in Health Care

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National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) (via Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) (unknown)
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) East of England