Determination of Elective Surgical Patients' Awareness of the “Speak Up” Initiative by Joint Commission

Thursday, 16 July 2009: 10:50 AM

Mary Elizabeth Asher, MSN, RN, CS, CPAN
School of Nursing and Health Studies, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL

Learning Objective 1: Discuss the need for patients to become active, involved informed participants with their health care team.

Learning Objective 2: list the targeted "Speak up" initiatives examined in this research study.

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to determine if elective surgical patients undergoing joint replacements (knee or hip) have been informed about the “Speak Up” initiative developed by the Joint Commission to prevent medical health care errors during hospitalization.
Background: Keeping patients safe during hospitalization is a priority for nurses. The “Speak Up” initiative was developed by Joint Commission in 2003 to promote patient safety during hospitalization and to decrease the number of medical health care errors by promoting patient awareness and participation. A total of 10 “Speak Up” brochures have been developed by the Joint Commission and are available on line for health care providers. More than 600 accredited organizations in 2005 were surveyed by the Joint Commission regarding the Speak Up campaign. Sixty five percent of the organizations surveyed reprinted information listed in the Speak Up brochures in the handbooks distributed to patients/residents/clients.
Methods: This descriptive pilot study will determine patient awareness of the “Speak Up” initiative and their “right to know” in preventing medical errors within the health care setting.  The study will be conducted over a 12 month period.  The “Speak Up Initiative Survey” (SUIS) is a 40-item questionnaire measuring patient’s awareness of specific Joint Commission recommended “Speak Up” initiatives designed to empower health consumers in prevention of medical errors while hospitalized.  A five-point Likert scale  is used to determine patient awareness of key initiatives with higher total scores indicating more exposure.  The target sample population (N=100) is consenting adults who have undergone elective knee/hip replacement surgery.
Discussion:   Since March 2003 the Joint Commission “Speak Up” Initiative has focused on patients actively participating in the prevention of health care errors by becoming “active, involved and informed participants”.  Awareness of both HCWs and patients to this initiative will help prevent medical errors.