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Patients and families

For your safety and the safety of others:

  • Get informed, educate yourself, and ask questions.
  • Actively participate in your own care and treatment.
  • Share information, concerns, and suggestions.
  • Work closely with your care providers, especially during care transitions.
  • Learn how to reduce infection risks while at home and in the community.

If you or your family member has experienced unanticipated harm:

  • Speak up and ask questions about what happened, why, and what will be done about it.
  • Seek out the proper way to report the incident.
  • Expect an apology and to be informed about next steps.
  • Ask for practical or emotional support to cope with the incident.
  • Find out where else you can find support if you feel you are not getting the answers you need (e.g., patient complaints or ombudsman office).
  • Share ideas, concerns, and suggestions to improve the incident management process.


To advance patient safety in partnership with patients:

  • Ensure patients and families are engaged in their care and feel comfortable voicing concerns and asking questions.
  • Educate patients and families about patient safety, especially those dealing with chronic illnesses, and ensure they are engaged.
  • Participate in and encourage open sharing and team learning about patient safety risks. 
  • Listen closely to patients and families, as they are all unique.
  • Make sure information is accurate and understood by patients and families.
  • Adapt your communication to fit the needs of patients and families.
  • Establish collaborative work habits with colleagues and patients and families, especially around leading practices (e.g., bedside shift report, transitions of care).
  • Continue to improve your communications skills.

If you are involved in a patient safety incident:

  • Follow the organization's procedures, practices, and guidance for reporting, disclosure, and incident management.
  • Find out who can support you and seek out practical and emotional support.
  • Use the advice and resources offered through your professional organizations and regulatory colleges.


  • Ensure your organization's policies, processes and resources for patient safety and incident management are used.
  • Ask everyone involved in a patient safety incident about their experience and how to prevent it.
  • Share patient safety and incident management information across the organization and incorporate improvement ideas into policies, procedures, and training.
  • Ensure timely, honest, and transparent communications with patients, families, and providers.
  • Visibly value and support patient engagement in patient safety.
  • Strive towards a safe and fair culture that is centred on patients and families.