An investigator sits with two family members filling in a form.

Giving families a voice: HSIB’s approach to patient and family engagement during investigations

HSIB legacy content

HSIB legacy content

This investigation was carried out by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB). Find out more about HSIB legacy.

Investigation summary

This national learning report highlights the themes emerging from our contact with families during our patient safety investigations.

Our national learning reports describe common themes and findings that come out of our national investigation programme and our maternity investigation programme.

Our national learning reports can be used by healthcare leaders, policymakers, and the public to:

  • Aid their knowledge of systemic patient safety risks
  • Understand the underlying contributing factors
  • Inform decision making to improve patient safety

The information in these reports is also used to inform future HSIB investigations or programmes of work.

Family engagement during investigations involves effective liaison between a family and the investigating team. It covers the whole investigation process from start to finish. Our aim is to get families involved and make sure they are central to investigations, depending on their preferences. We also make sure they are supported throughout the investigation process.

For the purpose of our national and maternity investigations ‘family’ can include the individual involved in the investigation and anyone else with a direct and close relationship with that individual.

This report sets out our family engagement process. It also summarises the feedback that we’ve received to date from the families who have been involved in our investigations.

The purpose is to share our family engagement process with other healthcare organisations involved in patient safety investigations. We hope to raise awareness of the value of an effective family engagement process in such investigations.

The report:

  • Describes HSIB’s approach to family engagement in our investigations and what has informed our practice.
  • Describes what has worked well in our approach to family engagement.
  • Summarises what families and staff tell us about our approach.
  • Explains what we have learned and plans for future work.
Investigation report