Postprint of: Jackson, D, Wilson, S & Hutchinson, M in press, 'Harm-free care or harm-free environments: expanding our definitions and understandings of safety in health care', Journal of Clinical Nursing, vol. 25, no. 21-22, pp. 3081-3083.
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In recent decades there has been no shortage of attention to the hazards and risks of healthcare. The sustained attention to prevent, or at least minimize, harm to patients has seen an international drive for 'cultures of safety' and 'harm-free care'. These approaches place emphasis on reducing harm, rather than individual blame and disciplinary measures for staff (HQ 2015, ACSQH 2015, NHS 2014), with increased attention to organisational structures, clinical competence and communication to prevent harm. While concerted effort has been given to reducing patient harm, what remains unclear is the definition of harm, what types of harm are preventable, and the scale of preventable harms.