BACKGROUND: To use advanced medical technologies (AMTs) correctly and safely requires both specialist knowledge and skills, and an awareness of risks and how those can be minimized. Reporting safety concerns about AMTs in home care can contribute to an improved quality of care. The extent to which a health care organization has integrated the reporting, evaluation and learning from incidents is a key element of that organization's patient safety culture.
OBJECTIVES: To explore nurses' experiences regarding the education followed in the use of AMTs in the home setting, and their organizations' systems of reporting.
DESIGN: Descriptive cross-sectional design.
METHODS: 209 home care nurses from across the Netherlands who worked with infusion therapy, parenteral nutrition and/or morphine pumps responded to the online questionnaire between July 2018 and February 2019. The analysis of the data was mainly descriptive.
RESULTS: Educational interventions that are most often used to learn how to use AMTs were, as an average over the three AMTs, instruction by a nurse (71%), practical training in the required skills (71%) and acquiring information to increase theoretical knowledge (69%). Considerable attention is paid to patient safety (88%) and the home setting (89%). However, a substantial proportion of the nurses (up to 29%) use AMTs even though they had not been tested on their skills. 95% of the respondents were well acquainted with the incident reporting protocol of their organization, but only 49% received structural or regular feedback on any actions taken as a result of event reporting.
CONCLUSIONS: This study revealed aspects of nurses' education that imply risk factors for patient safety. Practical training is not always given, additional or retraining is often voluntary, and the required skills are not always tested. However, the results show that nurses do have a good awareness of patient safety. Incidents are mainly discussed within the team, but less at the organizational level.