Conventionally, patient safety is concerned with the prevention of adverse events that may result in injury or death of patients. The concept of patient safety covers a range of practices such as hand-washing, medical precision and patient handling or movement from one bed, ward or department to another. One of the main limitations of this concept is that little or no emphasis is placed on the psychological or emotional well-being of patients and health care providers such as doctors and highly trained nurses. However, health researchers need to pay much more attention to patient psychological or emotional safety since; it may be argued that patients who feel psychologically or emotionally safe recuperate faster than those who do not. Patients made to feel psychologically safe may demonstrate greater self-efficacy, self-belief and self-esteem that may contribute to their recovery to good health in shorter time. This paper will outline three ways of improving patient psychological or emotional safety in a healthcare facility or in the patient-provider relationship. They are communication, education and good physical facilities. Also, it will explain one reason why patient safety is significant to provider well-being.iso 45003
Psychological or emotional safety draws attention to patients’ mental state. It implies that healthcare should be concerned with the all-round development of the patient. While physical care is important, it is also imperative that health providers monitor the way they impact patients’ emotions by their communication with them and the way they empower them so that they be made to feel self-confident and self-efficacious.
Effective provider-patient communication can improve patient safety and impact faster recovery. Patients treated with courtesy and professionalism are more likely to feel safer psychologically. This means that patients must perceive that healthcare providers are knowledgeable, highly trained and skilled, and care about their well-being. In terms of communication, health providers and patients must interact with one another cordially and demonstrate mutual respect. Health providers should be quick to make accurate diagnoses of patient communicative competence and employ the most appropriate methods to interact with them. Effective communication cannot be prescribed or standardized. The reason is that patients’ communicative competence depends on their state of health and well-being. A patient in excruciating pain will not be as communicative as another who is pain-free. On most occasions, health providers should refrain from using technical language or jargon if they are unwilling to explain their meaning or assist patients in deconstructing them. When health providers are collaborative with patients, patients will not apply the worst case scenario to their medical problem thereby increasing the perceptions that their health is poor.
When communicating with family members it is imperative that health providers maintain professionalism at all times and treat them with utmost respect. This is the case because family support plays a significant role in patient safety. Happy family will contribute toward happy patients. In essence, health providers, patients and family are the main persons involved in patients’ return to good health. For quick recovery,they must communicate effectively with one another.
It is well-known that most, if not all, patients are happy when health providers develop rapport with them, taking time to understand their emotions and overall feelings. In other words, patients are appreciative when they are treated humanely and safely. They feel strongly when their opinions matter in their diagnosis and treatment. In addition, it makes them feel secure, comfortable and significant. Doctors and nurses’ general demeanor should help to create an atmosphere conducive to early recuperation. Health providers who are approachable, yet firm, can instill confidence and feelings of efficacy when patients need to feel this way the most.
Effective non-verbal communication can improve feelings of patient safety significantly. Head and hand gestures, facial expressions and body language when used appropriately can help alleviate many patients’ health fears and concerns. This form of communication should never be undervalued. For some patients it may be the only means of communication. For instance, patients with mouth and throat infections, severe orthopedic injury and in a semi-comatose state are easier to communicate with through facial expressions and reassuring hand gestures. Nonverbal communication can play a significant role in making patients feel psychologically safe