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Developing an Intervention to Reduce Harm in Hospitalized Patients

Patients and Families in Research

Schenk, Elizabeth C., PhD, MHI, RN-BC; Bryant, Ruth A., PhD, RN, CWOCN; Van Son, Catherine R., PhD, RN, ANEF; Odom-Maryon, Tamara, PhD

doi: 10.1097/NCQ.0000000000000354

Background: Patient safety–focused research may be strengthened by the inclusion of patients and family members in research design; yet, published methodologies for doing so are scarce.

Purpose: This study engaged patients and families in research design of an intervention to increase patient/family engagement, with reduction of harm in hospitalized patients.

Methods: The study design team convened a Patient Safety Advisory Panel to explore potential testable interventions to increase patient/family engagement with safety. They explored the preferred intervention, Speak Up-My Advocate for Patient Safety (MAPS), through multistakeholder focus groups.

Results: Participants emphasized the importance of including patient/family when designing interventions. Regarding the Speak Up-MAPS intervention, perceptions from stakeholders were mixed, including the value and potential complexity, role confusion, and cost of the proposed advocate role.

Conclusion: Intentional inclusion of the patient/family in research is important and practical. Both strengths and challenges of the proposed intervention were identified, indicating the need for further study.

Providence St. Patrick Hospital, Missoula, Montana (Dr Schenk); College of Nursing, Washington State University, Spokane (Drs Schenk and Odom-Maryon); Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Dr Bryant); and College of Nursing, Washington State University, Vancouver (Dr Van Son).

Correspondence: Elizabeth C. Schenk, PhD, MHI, RN-BC, Providence St. Patrick Hospital, 500 W Broadway, Missoula, MT, 59802 (

The authors thank additional research team members: Shannon Frederick, BSN, RN; Danielle Stratton, BSN, RN; Don Craton, MS, BA (patient and hospital volunteer).

Funding for this study was provided in part through a grant from Sigma Theta Tau International.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (

Accepted for publication: June 30, 2018

Published ahead of print: September 6, 2018

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