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Tool 1A: Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture

Preventing Falls in Hospitals: A Toolkit for Improving Quality of Care

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Background: The Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture is a staff survey designed to help hospitals assess the culture of safety in their institutions. Since 2004, hundreds of hospitals have implemented the survey.

There is a growing recognition that organizational change to improve patient safety, including fall prevention, requires a general culture of safety among its staff. Achieving a culture of safety requires an understanding of the values, beliefs, and norms about what is important in an organization and what patient safety attitudes and behaviors are expected and appropriate. This requires a culture that views errors as opportunities to improve the system, not the result of individual failure. For example, it may be difficult for your hospital to overcome chronic underreporting of falls if you have a culture where acknowledgment of error is not acceptable.

Reference: Available on the AHRQ Web site: www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/patient-safety-resources/resources/patientsafetyculture/hospscanform.pdf.


How to use this tool: Consider administering a survey to assess the culture of safety in your hospital. The AHRQ Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture examines patient safety culture from a hospital staff perspective. The survey can be completed by all interdisciplinary team members and staff on units preparing to implement the fall prevention program but is best suited for:

  • Hospital staff who have direct contact or interaction with patients.
  • Hospital staff who may not have direct contact or interaction with patients but whose work directly affects patient care.
  • Hospital-employed physicians who spend most of their work hours in the hospital.
  • Hospital supervisors, managers, and administrators.

A user's guide that provides information on getting started, selecting a sample, determining data collection methods, establishing data collection procedures, conducting a Web-based survey, preparing and analyzing data, and producing reports may be found at www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/patient-safety-resources/resources/patientsafetyculture/hospcult.pdf.

The results of this survey can provide a hospital with an understanding of the safety-related perceptions and attitudes of its managers and staff. Results can be compared with those of other hospitals using the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture Comparative Database available at: www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/patient-safety-resources/resources/patientsafetyculture/hospsurvindex.html.

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Current as of January 2013
Internet Citation: Tool 1A: Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture: Preventing Falls in Hospitals: A Toolkit for Improving Quality of Care. January 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/systems/long-term-care/resources/injuries/fallpxtoolkit/fallpxtk-tool1a.html