Retrospective qualitative study: patients’ and family members’ views on how clinicians enact and how they should enact incident disclosure
Does open disclosure help meet patients’ and family members’ expectations?
Healthcare providers are beginning to adopt “open disclosure” policies in response to healthcare incidents. This means that when serious medical incidents occur during the course of healthcare provision, the patient and family members concerned should be provided with a full and honest explanation of the incident and offered compensation for the harm caused. Incomplete, dishonest, or poorly handled disclosures of medical incidents can often worsen the stress experienced by the patient and their family, so it is important that such disclosures are handled in the best way. The clinicians involved in the incident, however, might feel concerned about talking openly about the incident because of the legal and professional implications of doing so. Clinicians may also be unaware of the effect that different ways of communicating about the incident might have on the people affected. For these reasons, research has been undertaken into the experiences of doctors and patients and