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It’s Safe to Ask

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It’s Safe to Ask Is It Safe to Ask ? Patients are now asked to become more involved in their own care. More care is being given at home/in community by informal caregivers. Health literacy and clear communication are critical to patients staying safe!

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It’s Safe to Ask

Is It Safe to Ask?
  • Patients are now asked to become more involved in their own care.
  • More care is being given at home/in community by informal caregivers.
  • Health literacy and clear communication are critical to patients staying safe!
  • Every patient has the right to receive healthcare instructions and information in a way that they can understand.
Is It Safe to Ask?
  • 300+ studies say that current health-related materials far exceed the average reading skills of US adults.
  • Communication (or a lack of it) was a root cause of 70% of sentinel events reported to the Joint Commission Resources.
What is It’s Safe to Ask?
  • A provincial patient safety and health literacy initiative, led by Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety (MIPS).
  • Belief: Patients can play an important role in enhancing the safety and quality of their health care by becoming active, informed members of their care team.
It’s Safe to Ask
  • What is my health problem?
  • What do I need to do?
  • Why do I need to do this?
It’s Safe to Ask

will offer information and tips

for providers and patients to:

  • enhance clear communication
  • make care a more positive experience
  • increase health literacy (both patient & provider)
  • help reduce healthcare errors and critical incidents
What is Health Literacy?
  • Health literacy is the degree to which individuals can obtain, process, and understand the basic health information and services they need to make appropriate health decisions (Institute of Medicine, 2004).
2003 Manitoba Literacy Facts

40% of Manitoba population has low literacy

  • 35% of adults have not finished high school
  • 80% of seniors have low literacy
  • 50% of the people in the LOWEST literacy levels do not speak English or French
2007 Manitoba Health Literacy Facts
  • 60% of Manitobans have low health literacy skills
It’s Safe to AskTarget Groups

1. Public Groups in Manitoba

  • Elderly people
  • Aboriginal people (urban and rural)
  • Low literacy, ESL, new Canadians
  • Consumers of disability/mental health services
  • Children and youth
Some of these groups
  • Are likely to have lower health literacy than needed
  • Are more frequent users of the health care system
  • Seniors: very likely to overestimate their literacy skills
It’s Safe to Ask Target Groups

2. Healthcare Providers in Manitoba

  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Pharmacists
It’s Safe to Ask Materials -Phase One
  • Poster (images, cartoon, translated into 12 languages, grade 4 reading level)

2. Brochure with med list for patients (translated, grade 4)

It’s Safe to Ask Materials -Phase One

3.Provider Information Sheet

4.Implementation Sheet for Organizations

Brochure, Poster, Provider Info Sheet were developed by Steering Committee then pilot tested with healthcare providers, patients, community members.
Steering Committee
  • MIPS Analyst
  • Manitoba Health Program Planner
  • Quality Risk Manager/ Northern Mb Resident
  • Patient Safety Officer WRHA
  • Aboriginal Services Worker HSC
  • Moms & Dads
  • Director of Services – Core Area Community Health Ctr
  • Literacy Partners of Manitoba
  • Children’s Hospital Pharmacist
  • 2 Physicians
Focus groups and feedback were sought with public and provider groups (mail, phone, email, in-person, web)
      • Feb-October 2006
  • MIPS partnered with RHAs, regulatory bodies, community health centers, family practice clinics and other organizations across the province to ensure widespread distribution to targeted groups.
Endorsers of It’s Safe to Ask:
  • College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba
  • College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba
  • Manitoba Pharmaceutical Association
  • First Nations & Inuit Health Branch
  • Regional Health Authorities of Manitoba
  • Mental Health Literacy Network
Endorsers Continued
  • Manitoba Health
  • St Boniface General Hospital
  • Winnipeg Regional Health Authority
  • Literacy Partners of Manitoba
  • Manitoba Medical Association
  • Manitoba Society of Seniors
  • Sexuality Education Resource Center
Endorsers will
  • Mail info materials to healthcare providers
  • Call to action, support It’s Safe to Ask
  • Distribute information in RHAs
  • Translate
Why It’s Safe to Ask?
  • Driven by results of MIPS Stakeholder Consultations 2005
  • Culture Change is important
  • Patient Safety is a priority in Manitoba
  • Fits CCHSA Patient Safety Goals
  • Aligned with Safer Healthcare Now!
6 pilot sites:

Klinic Community Health Centre

Pharmasave – Flin Flon

St Boniface Hospital – LDRP ward

Shoppers Drug Mart – Portage & Burnell

Shoppers Drug Mart – St B hospital

Centre de Sante (health centre)

It’s Safe to Ask Evaluation

6 Pilot Sites

      • Pilot site Evaluation – mail-in surveys, phone, email, in-person meetings with providers
It’s Safe to Ask Evaluation
  • Formal Evaluation planned for after Phase 1 (spring 2007) by Research Team
Pilot Site Evaluation Lesson #1
  • It’s about more than putting up posters and handing out brochures!
Lessons Continued
  • Sites need support from champion
  • Need to believe this will work!
  • Culture change is slow, keep going!
  • Script what you will say, and role-play
  • Regional and on-site champions at all staff levels
  • Live it, or patients will feel it is NOT safe to ask.
Implementation is key.
  • Read through Implementation Sheet with your team to determine how It’s Safe to Ask will work best at your site!
Implementation is key.
  • Choose one or two people to take the lead at your site!
Provide some education and encouragement, relate the initiative to your RHA.
  • Engage in a 'role play’ to help people feel comfortable talking about It’s Safe to Ask.
If there simply is no site champion, the coordinator may train and support front line staff.
  • Try to involve Community Health Developers or other health promotion staff to provide ongoing support.
Coordinators will
  • Select 1 site/unit/program
  • Learn more about health literacy
  • Communicate with the team
  • Read and share implementation sheet
  • Engage staff at all levels – esp. reception!
What will MIPS do?
  • Distribute materials
    • Brochures
    • Posters
    • Provider Info sheets
    • Implementation Sheets
  • Support the coordinators
    • to download more
Begin your planning now –
  • pick a site!
  • identify champions!
Comments and questions

Manitoba Institute for Patient Safety

(204) 927-6477