Communication elements supporting patient safety in psychiatric inpatient care

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Abstract

The study aims to describe which communication elements support patient safety in psychiatric inpatient care from the viewpoint of the nursing staff. Communication is an essential part of care and one of the core competencies of the psychiatric care. It enables safe and quality patient care. Errors in health care are often connected with poor communication. The study brings needed insight from the psychiatric care view to the topic. The data were gathered from semi-structured interviews in which 26 nurses were asked to describe the elements that constitute patient safety in psychiatric inpatient care. The data were analysed inductively from the viewpoint of communication. The descriptions connected with communication formed a main category of communication elements that support patient safety; this main category was made up of three subcategories: fluent information transfer, open communication culture and being active in information collecting. Fluent information transfer consists of the practical implementation of communication; open communication culture is connected with the cultural issues of communication; and being active in information collecting is related to a nurse's personal working style, which affects communication. It is important to pay attention to all the three areas and use this knowledge in developing patient safety practices and strategies where communication aspect and culture are noted and developed. In mental health nursing, it is important to develop processes concerning communication in multidisciplinary teams and across unit boundaries.

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