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Br J Surg. 2016 Jan;103(2):e47-51. doi: 10.1002/bjs.10031. Epub 2015 Nov 30.

Importance of teamwork, communication and culture on failure-to-rescue in the elderly.

Author information

1
Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Healthcare System, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
2
Center for Healthcare Outcomes and Policy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
3
Department of Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Surgical mortality increases significantly with age. Wide variations in mortality rates across hospitals suggest potential levers for improvement. Failure-to-rescue has been posited as a potential mechanism underlying these differences.

METHODS:

A review was undertaken of the literature evaluating surgery, mortality, failure-to-rescue and the elderly. This was followed by a review of ongoing studies and unpublished work aiming to understand better the mechanisms underlying variations in surgical mortality in elderly patients.

RESULTS:

Multiple hospital macro-system factors, such as nurse staffing, available hospital technology and teaching status, are associated with differences in failure-to-rescue rates. There is emerging literature regarding important micro-system factors associated with failure-to-rescue. These are grouped into three broad categories: hospital resources, attitudes and behaviours. Ongoing work to produce interventions to reduce variations in failure-to-rescue rates include a focus on teamwork, communication and safety culture. Researchers are using novel mixed-methods approaches and theories adapted from organizational studies in high-reliability organizations in an effort to improve the care of elderly surgical patients.

CONCLUSION:

Although elderly surgical patients experience failure-to-rescue events at much higher rates than their younger counterparts, patient-level effects do not sufficiently explain these differences. Increased attention to the role of organizational dynamics in hospitals' ability to rescue these high-risk patients will establish high-yield interventions aimed at improving patient safety.

PMID:
26616276
PMCID:
PMC4715639
DOI:
10.1002/bjs.10031
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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