Rationale, aims and objectives The study aims to investigate the effects of a patient safety advisory on patients' risk perceptions, perceived behavioural control, performance of safety behaviours and experience of adverse incidents. Method Quasi-experimental intervention study with non-equivalent group comparison was used. Patients admitted to the surgical department of a Swiss large non-university hospital were included. Patients in the intervention group received a safety advisory at their first clinical encounter. Outcomes were assessed using a questionnaire at discharge. Odds ratios for control versus intervention group were calculated. Regression analysis was used to model the effects of the intervention and safety behaviours on the experience of safety incidents. Results Two hundred eighteen patients in the control and 202 in the intervention group completed the survey (75 and 77% response rates, respectively). Patients in the intervention group were less likely to feel poorly informed about medical errors (OR = 0.55, P = 0.043). There were 73.1% in the intervention and 84.3% in the control group who underestimated the risk for infection (OR = 0.51, CI 0.31-0.84, P = 0.009). Perceived behavioural control was lower in the control group (meanCon = 3.2, meanInt = 3.5, P = 0.010). Performance of safety-related behaviours was unaffected by the intervention. Patients in the intervention group were less likely to experience any safety-related incident or unsafe situation (OR for intervention group = 0.57, CI 0.38-0.87, P = 0.009). There were no differences in concerns for errors during hospitalization. There were 96% of patients (intervention) who would recommend other patients to read the advisory. Conclusions The results suggest that the safety advisory decreases experiences of adverse events and unsafe situations. It renders awareness and perceived behavioural control without increasing concerns for safety and can thus serve as a useful instrument for communication about safety between health care workers and patients.
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.