Wake-up call for hospitals, 9.2 per cent of children have experienced an adverse event in paediatric care

"First national study provides benchmark"

EDMONTON, March 5, 2013 /CNW/ - In the release of the "Canadian Paediatric Adverse Events Study", funded in part by the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI), The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), and other academic paediatric centres across the country, researchers found that the overall rate of adverse events in children hospitalized in Canada is 9.2 per cent. This research was carried out to identify the potential risks to children in hospitals and to inform efforts to make paediatric healthcare safer. 

The study examined almost 4,000 children's medical charts, in 22 hospitals in seven provinces, and found that there were almost three times as many adverse events occurring in academic hospitals than in community hospitals. This can be explained in part by the fact that academic hospitals tend to care for a broader population of paediatric patients, many of whom have complex medical conditions and needs.  Academic hospitals also perform more surgeries and more complicated procedures than community hospitals. 

"This is a strong wake-up call for all hospitals taking care of children," - says lead researcher, Dr. Anne Matlow, former Medical Director of Patient Safety at SickKids.  "It serves as a benchmark for adverse events in paediatric care that will help to focus our attention on key areas of improvement.  Hospital administrators and safety personnel should use this information to aid surveillance of adverse events and ultimately work towards the goal of improving the safety of children hospitalized in Canada."  Matlow adds that "it is imperative that all hospitals - not just paediatric hospitals - recognize that all efforts must be made to deliver safe medical care to children."

This study is important research to families of children in hospitals, as many paediatric patients cannot advocate for their own care.  Sabina Robin lost her seven-month-old daughter, Mataya, as a result of an adverse event while in hospital.  As a mother and a nurse, Sabina was an advocate for her daughter who could not speak up.  Sabina says, "studies like this help bring patient safety issues to the forefront, and help to make paediatric safety a priority."

The "Canadian Paediatric Adverse Events Study" is the first national study done on adverse events in hospitalized children, identifying areas to focus efforts on reducing harm.  The results show that the priority in academic hospitals should be on surgical and intensive care, and in community hospitals, the evidence suggests that the focus be in emergency and obstetrical care.  The study also found that more resources should be channeled into investigating diagnostic adverse events. 

About Canadian Patient Safety Institute
The Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) is a not-for-profit organization that exists to raise awareness and facilitate implementation of ideas and best practices to achieve a transformation in patient safety.  Funded by Health Canada, CPSI reflects the desire to close the gap between the healthcare we have and the healthcare we deserve.

About The Hospital for Sick Children
The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is recognized as one of the world's foremost paediatric healthcare institutions and is Canada's leading centre dedicated to advancing children's health through the integration of patient care, research and education. Founded in 1875 and affiliated with the University of Toronto, SickKids is one of Canada's most research-intensive hospitals and has generated discoveries that have helped children globally.  Its mission is to provide the best in complex and specialized family-centred care; pioneer scientific and clinical advancements; share expertise; foster an academic environment that nurtures healthcare professionals; and champion an accessible, comprehensive and sustainable child health system. SickKids is proud of its vision for Healthier Children. A Better World. For more information, please visit www.sickkids.ca.

To access the Canadian Paediatric Adverse Events Study, visit www.patientsafetyinstitute.ca

To view Sabina Robin's story visit www.YouTube.com/patientsafetycanada

SOURCE: Canadian Patient Safety Institute

For further information:

Canadian Patient Safety Institute;
Cecilia Bloxom, Director of Communications, (780) 700-8642 CBloxom@cpsi-icsp.ca

The Hospital for Sick Children
Caitlin McNamee-Lamb, Communications Specialist, (416) 813-7654 ext.1436  caitlin.mcnamee-lamb@sickkids.ca

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