Interactions that hurt: Psychological harm as patient safety concern in advanced cancer care

Psychological harm as patient safety concern in advanced cancer care symbolic picture

18.08.2023 – Prof. Dr. David Schwappach and Prof. Dr. Sofia Zambrano from the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM) received a competitive three-year grant from Swiss Cancer Research to strengthen our knowledge on preventable psychological harm in cancer care.

Intense medical care as provided to cancer patients can sometimes lead to preventable harm, such as medication errors or infections. Preventable psychological harm from health care, such as emotional distress caused by poor communication or specific organizational practices, is an important patient safety dimension for cancer patients. However, it has not been appropriately defined and acknowledged in patient safety research.

This research project will investigate preventable psychological harm from the perspectives of key stakeholders, with the aim to make it approachable for improvement efforts.

Various methods will be used to develop a framework of preventable psychological harm and to achieve consensus on its characteristics together with international experts including patients. Finally, the occurrence and contributing factors will be assessed empirically.

Our findings will contribute to comprehensively understand preventable psychological harm in cancer care, to determine the magnitude of the problem, and to propose opportunities for improving patient safety in cancer care in this important dimension.

There is currently an interesting position open to join this project.

Want to apply?