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Human Factors

Communication and team working is recognised to have significant impact on the quality and safety of services for patients. Human Factors are the non-technical knowledge and skills to support safer ways of working. These include teamwork, communication and leadership. An appreciation of the principles of human factors has been implemented into acute care services in recent years.

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Download our toolkit

Our hypothesis was that there are several factors needed to deliver safe care across care settings, and that an appreciation of human factors was not as developed in community setting as in acute care.

With the support of Health Education England, we supported community providers in the West of England to train over staff working at Bands 1 – 4 and their supervisors. The curriculum for this training was developed by Sirona Care & Health and North Bristol NHS Trust.

Read the evaluation report from our Human Factors programme. 2,884 staff working in the community in the West of England received training through the programme plus an addition 278 staff received training at other Patient Safety Collaborative events.

An integral factor in developing our programme has been co-production with patients and service users. You can hear from one of our service users, Stephen, about the impact this has had on him or read this case study produced by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership.

In order to support this project we have developed:

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Download and print our SBAR cards for community staff.

You can watch a video from Gloucestershire Care Services describing the project.

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Care home edition

We have developed an edition of the toolkit specifically for care homes, supported by our music video, “Help!”

Contact us for more resources including SBAR mugs, notepads and pens.

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Useful resources

Read about human factors. Communication, teamwork, and resilience are some human factors which can affect safety. The environment in which individuals and teams work, as well as aspects of the task itself can also have an impact. Human Factors in Healthcare: Common Terms published by the Clinical Human Factors Group is a great introduction to some of the terms used in this field.

Find out more about SBAR. SBAR is a structured method for communicating critical information that requires immediate attention and action, contributing to effective escalation and increased patient safety. The SBAR tool originated in the US Navy Submarine Service and was adapted for use in healthcare by Dr M Leonard and colleagues from Kaiser Permanente, Colorado, USA. Watch this introductory video below.

Watch Just a Routine Operation teaching video is a guide to the concept of human factors in healthcare.

Watch this animation which shows the Circle of Care – a framework to help healthcare professionals think about, practice and demonstrate high quality compassionate healthcare. This framework re-envisions compassionate healthcare by placing it in a broad social and interpersonal context, describing a multi-directional flow of care between healthcare professionals and their colleagues, patients and carers. Crucially, healthcare professionals must also care for themselves. Circle of Care was created as a result of a collaboration between the Simulation and Interactive Learning Centre (SaIL) at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (GSTT), and Clod Ensemble’s Performing Medicine programme.

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Read about the connection between work-life balance and safety in this article by James Reason: three buckets model.

Read Human Factors in Healthcare by Debbie Rosenorn-Lanng — available in two parts (Level 1 and Level 2).
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