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Apologising to patients can reduce court cases


Apologising to patients when something has gone wrong can be beneficial to nurses, patients and relatives, according to an article published by Nursing Times.

The article shows that while a difficult part of nursing practice, patients are less likely to resort to the courts if they feel they have been offered a “proper” apology.

The authors suggest using the “three Rs” when having to make a difficult apology: regret (saying sorry and accepting responsibility); reason (providing a reason for the mistake); and remedy (trying to resolve the mistake as far as possible).

Click here to read the research in full.


Readers' comments (3)

  • It has been found that the single most common reason patients decide to take legal action is because no one has spoken or communicated with them when something goes wrong.
    Admittedly there can be very good reasons why patients and hospitals end up in court. Difficult though it may be, contact, ,an apology and willingness to offer an explanation can potentially save expensive and distressing litigation for all concerned.

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  • I agree with this to a degree. However, I think communication if effective, can avoid needing to apologise in the first place.
    That being said why is it that patients and relatives are allowed to verbally abuse nursing staff? Yes I realise they are stressed.
    Where is their apology or do we have to accept this as part of the job?????

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  • Apologising?
    What about the patients? Do they apologise? Oh NO!

    What about the directors and matrons, when patients abuse and shout at us nurses. They say, you should be nice, good, apologise etc etc. In my experience, a number of staff have had the experience of not being supported by managers, matron etc.

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