Why a just culture is important for patients and families
A just culture helps make care safer for patients. It is part of a safety culture – an approach to delivering healthcare that continually strives to make care as safe as possible.
A just culture is also part of a healthcare quality culture where there is a commitment and ongoing effort to create a positive care experience for patients and better outcomes of care.
In a just culture there is a feeling of trust that everyone involved will be treated fairly when care does not go as well as expected for a patient. Trust is important for both healthcare workers and patients.
Healthcare workers and patients are an important source of information about weaknesses in the care delivery system.
- Healthcare workers will be more likely to report errors and other concerns about the care delivery system when they trust that those involved will be supported and treated fairly.
- Patients will be more likely to report errors and safety concerns (an ‘accident waiting to happen’) because they know they and their healthcare providers will be treated fairly.
Top 4 things patients and family members can do to foster a just culture:
- Speak up about your patient safety concerns. This can help make care safer for other patients. Promote the idea of a safety culture in which healthcare workers welcome information that helps identify where improvements are needed.
- Avoid looking for someone to blame if something goes wrong with the care you or a family member receives. Instead, ask for the facts about what happened to help you better understand why people took the actions they did.
- Ask about how the actions of people involved when something goes wrong will be assessed. Advocate for a fair assessment process that is guided by just culture principles.
- Be vocal about the need to uphold the principles of a just culture. This will allow healthcare workers and patients to talk openly about their concerns together in order to improve the system for others.