Tips for Handling Bad Patient Outcomes in Healthcare

As healthcare professionals, we all strive to help our patients recover and move on to live better lives. Unfortunately, things don’t always end up that way. Make sure you’re prepared and protected by following our tips for handling bad patient outcomes in healthcare.

Maintain Contact With Patient’s Family and Friends

In the challenging situation of a bad patient outcome, emotions and confusion can run high among the close family and friends of the patient. They’ll likely have many complicated and detailed questions about the patient’s experience, the treatment, and many other aspects of their care.

As a healthcare professional, you must maintain proper contact with the patient’s family and friends. It’s beneficial for both you and the patient’s associates to have an effective communication bridge. A clear line of communication will help those who know the patient feel heard and seen, have their questions answered, and avoid problems that come from miscommunication.

Speaking with the patient’s loved ones doesn’t take long and can mean a world of difference for grieving friends and family.

Consult the Documentation

The treatment documentation is always essential, but it becomes even more critical when a bad patient outcome occurs. Documentation can help answer many of the questions and concerns the friends and family of the patient have about treatment and diagnosis.

If you deal with many patients, it’s not uncommon to forget some minor details about some aspects of care. Documentation is there for you to consult when answering questions. You can’t alter medical records after the fact, but you should double-check the work to ensure everything is in order and flag any inaccuracies you may have missed before.

The documentation is also crucial should someone file a malpractice claim, as it contains all required information regarding the care the patient received. Adverse patient outcomes are part of why malpractice insurance for healthcare professionals is so important, whether you’re a nurse, physician, or technician.

Examine the Treatment

After an adverse patient outcome, it’s not uncommon to look back and consider the treatment and choices made. Even if you didn’t make all the decisions, consulting the documentation can help you determine what went wrong and why.

If you’re still unsure of the cause, have a colleague give a second opinion on the treatment and documentation to give you another point of view of the outcome and what led up to it. Understanding what happened can help you speak with the patient and their family and assure them how you will prevent adverse outcomes in the future.

One of the most challenging parts of being a healthcare professional is a negative patient outcome. The situation afterward is often difficult. These tips for handling bad patient outcomes will help you navigate this challenging scenario should it happen.