Early warning signs of deteriorating condition are often unrecognized, leading to devastating results. Research shows that virtually all critical patient events are preceded by warning signs that occur several in advance.
The Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) and the Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada (HIROC), continuously assert the importance of patient engagement in healthcare. We believe the patient and family have a voice at the bedside, and are vital to safe care outcomes.
When it comes to the deteriorating patient condition, family members are a vital part of the healthcare team and are often best positioned to recognize the sometimes subtle, yet very important changes in their loved one's condition that may indicate deterioration. They may not know WHAT is wrong, but they're often the first to notice when something "just isn't right".
Look no further than the story of Mataya Robin as an example of what we're talking about:
CPSI and HIROC, determined to be instrumental in ending preventable harm caused by the deteriorating patient condition, have partnered in an effort to curate the most comprehensive set of tools and resources related to the deteriorating patient condition in Canada, if not the world. You can access them all free of charge by searching "Deteriorating Patient Condition" or "DPC" at
If you've got a family member currently in the healthcare system, learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of the deteriorating patient condition and how to effectively discuss your concerns with the healthcare provider.
For providers and leaders, learn about the deteriorating patient condition in various care settings, and become a champion for patient engagement as you empower patients and family members to serve as your eyes and ears and monitor for early warning signs that something may be wrong.
Together, we can reduce preventable harm.
Yours in patient safety,
Chris Power Catherine Gaulton
Canadian Patient Safety Institute Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada