Disability Research NetworkDisability Research Network

Keeping people with communication disability safe in hospital

Hospital patients with communication disabilities are up to three times more likely than other patients to experience preventable, harmful patient safety incidents. 

We will develop:

  1. an evidence based framework that helps to prevent and manage patient safety incidents, and 
  2. a Clinical Audit Tool for Communication in Hospital (CATCH) to improve patient safety for adults with little or no speech. This information will reduce costs associated with adverse events, and improve patient care.

Adults with developmental disability have a life expectancy the same as that of their peers without disability. These adults enter hospital more frequently and stay for longer periods as they get older and experience functional decline associated with ageing. As a result, they are likely to enter hospital more frequently as adults, exposing them to higher risk for patient safety incidents. 

Protecting these patients from adverse events in hospital will:

  1. reduce costs associated with healthcare and hospitalisation, and 
  2. improve health services to other patients who are ageing and face similar functional difficulties in reduced movement, reduced independence for daily activities, and problems with communication of care. 

This project will also contribute to enhancing the continuity and coordination of safe and quality care across the patient care spectrum.

Find out more at safetycatchproject.net.