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Adverse events can have an impact on all of us

The fragility of patients treated in health care institutions, the seriousness of their pathologies and the risks associated with innovations and treatments mean that adverse events can quickly become critical and have a severe impact on health care professionals, whatever their profession.

A survey conducted at the Toulouse Oncopole University Cancer Institute (IUCT-Oncopole) in February 2021 revealed that nearly 75% of caregivers or 60% of all professionals have already experienced an adverse event associated with care.

Half of them have doubts about their professional abilities after an adverse event has occurred.

70% of the professionals felt sad, 80% found the mental burden of these events tiring. Although it is helpful to talk about it with other colleagues (77%), in almost 35% of cases, these colleagues may be indifferent to the impact of these events on the second victims. Support from relatives was sought in only half of the cases.

The results of this survey are consistent with the Anglo-Saxon literature.
It is therefore time to build support systems.

The recognition of the phenomenon of second victim requires a clear vision, displayed by the General Management of hospitals.

Example of vision at the IUCT-Oncopole :
Any professional involved in an unforeseen adverse event for a patient can be considered a potential 2nd victim.
Any second victim can benefit from immediate support and an offer of accompaniment.
The General Director promotes and guarantees the proper functioning of the support system.

The implementation of such a system must be supervised. A formal policy can define the principle aims and limits and must guarantee the respect of the confidentiality of the exchanges to encourage the professionals to use the device, in all confidence.

This system was awarded the Risk Management 2020 prize by SHAM:

The support system for second victims of an adverse event was launched on 16 April 2021 at a general meeting of IUCT-Oncopole staff

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