RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Patients have a significant role to play in enhancing their own safety while receiving hospital care. This review offers a framework for clinicians to develop comprehensive practical guidelines to support patient involvement in patient safety.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: This systematic review aims to synthesise the existing research on how patients participate in patient safety initiatives.
BACKGROUND: Ambiguities remain about how patients participate in routine measures designed to promote patient safety.
DESIGN: Systematic review using integrative methods.
METHODS: Electronic databases were searched using keywords describing patient involvement, nursing input and patient safety initiatives to retrieve empirical research published between 2007 and 2013. Findings were synthesized using the theoretical domains of Vincent's framework for analysing risk and safety in clinical practice: "patient", "healthcare provider", "task", "work environment", "organisation & management".
RESULTS: We identified 17 empirical research papers: four qualitative, one mixed-method and 12 quantitative designs. All 17 papers indicated that patients can participate in safety initiatives.
CONCLUSIONS: Improving patient participation in patient safety necessitates considering the patient as a person, the nurse as healthcare provider, the task of participation and the clinical environment. Patients' knowledge, health conditions, beliefs and experiences influence their decisions to engage in patient safety initiatives. An important component of the management of long-term conditions is to ensure that patients have sufficient knowledge to participate. Healthcare providers may need further professional development in patient education and patient care management to promote patient involvement in patient safety, and ensure that patients understand that they are 'allowed' to inform nurses of adverse events or errors. A healthcare system characterised by patient-centredness and mutual acknowledgement will support patient participation in safety practices. Further research is required to improve international knowledge of patient participation in patient safety in different disciplines, contexts and cultures.