Every patient has the right to be treated with care, consideration and dignity. At Allowah Presbyterian Children’s Hospital we respect this right, and we’re committed to improving the safety and quality of the care we deliver. That’s why we have a policy of open disclosure for when things don’t go as planned with the care we provide. Open disclosure assists parents and carers when a child is unintentionally harmed during health care.

More than 200,000 people are treated in Australian hospitals each day. Occasionally something doesn’t go to plan and a patient can be harmed unintentionally. Australian health service organisations are working to improve the way they handle things that don’t go to plan.

Part of improving the way they manage these situations is by being open with parents and carers about what happened. The process of communicating with you when things haven’t gone as expected is called open disclosure.

 What is Open Disclosure?
Open disclosure is open discussion about incidents that caused harm to a patient. If your child has been harmed during their stay at Allowah we will talk with you about it. We will encourage our staff, as well as family or carers, to identify and report when things go wrong or when children are harmed so that care can be improved.

 When would open disclosure occur?
Most things that don’t go to plan in health care are minor or are found out before they affect a child. For things which don’t result in harm, our doctors or nurses will talk with parents and carers about what went wrong in the same way they talk with them about other aspects of a child’s treatment. They should talk with parents and carers as soon as they are aware of the incident.

If a child is seriously harmed, parents and carers will be informed as soon as possible and an open disclosure meeting will be held.

If you think a serious incident has occurred which has not been acknowledged, you should inform our CEO, Mrs Elizabeth McClean on 0427 421 467 or at emcclean@pcnsw.org.au

 What is the benefit of open disclosure?
Open disclosure if designed for when things don’t go to plan in health care. We will:

  • inform parents and carers, and help them to understand what went wrong with their child’s care
  • let them know what is being done to investigate what went wrong
  • explain the consequences of the incident for their child and their child’s care
  • assist them with any support you might need
  • let them know the steps the health service organisation will be taking to make care safer in the future.

 Is there any other information available?
There is a booklet for patients beginning an open disclosure process called Open disclosure of things that don’t go to plan in health care.

You can get copies of it from the health service or from the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care’s web site www.safetyandquality.gov.au

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