Psychological Safety in Aged Care

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Boards + Psychological Safety

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Boards should be diligent in measuring, monitoring, and reporting on the psychological safety of their clinical teams due to its significant impact on patient outcomes, staff well-being, and overall organizational performance. 

Psychological safety refers to an environment in which individuals feel safe to speak up, share ideas, and express concerns without fear of retribution or negative consequences. When clinical teams feel psychologically safe, they are more likely to engage in open communication, collaborate effectively, and proactively identify and address potential errors or system failures.

 

Research has demonstrated the importance of psychological safety in healthcare settings. A study by Mira et al. (2019) found that higher levels of psychological safety were associated with lower rates of medication errors, reduced staff burnout, and increased patient satisfaction. Similarly, a systematic review by Chan et al. (2021) indicated that psychological safety positively influenced team performance, learning, and patient safety.

By measuring and monitoring the psychological safety of clinical teams, boards can identify potential areas for improvement and implement targeted interventions to foster a supportive culture. Regular reporting on psychological safety metrics enables boards to track progress, identify trends, and ensure that efforts to enhance psychological safety are effective and sustainable.

Prioritising psychological safety aligns with the principles of high-reliability organisations (HROs) in healthcare. HROs place emphasis on fostering a culture of trust, open communication, and psychological safety to reduce errors and promote resilience. By focusing on psychological safety, boards can contribute to creating a culture of safety and continuous learning within their organisations.

Boards should be diligent in measuring, monitoring, and reporting on the psychological safety of clinical teams due to its profound impact on patient outcomes, staff well-being, and organizational performance.

 The establishment of psychological safety contributes to a culture of trust, open communication, and continuous improvement, leading to enhanced patient safety and overall healthcare quality.

“Psychological Safety is critical if we wish to deliver quality consumer care. My concern is that our boards are exposed to greater risk than ever before because tehy are not measuring, monitoring and reporting on psychological safety of our clincial teams. This means that when they review an incident reprot – they are only seeing a bite size of the incidences – that is very large gap”.  Carolyn Grant

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