BETA HEART – Care for the Caregiver

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Every day, caring and dedicated healthcare providers and support staff come to work in clinically complex environments with the intent of providing safe, quality care. Research shows that annually, approximately 1.6 million clinicians are impacted by the emotional trauma associated with a medical error leading to patient harm.

A (2000) study conducted by Dr. Albert Wu, found that “Virtually every practitioner knows the sickening realization of making a bad mistake.” Most experienced feelings of remorse, self-anger, self-doubt, and guilt affecting their personal and professional lives. Susan D. Scott Ph.D. of the University of Missouri found in her (2011) research that those experiencing emotional trauma after an unanticipated patient harm event undergo a predictable pattern as their coping mechanisms seek to regain balance. Scott identified three likely outcomes resulting from the provider’s ability to recover from the emotionally traumatizing event [drop out, survive, or thrive] and that prompt intervention after direct or indirect involvement in such an event could have a positive impact on the recovery process.

BETA HEART® and the Care for the Caregiver Module

BETA Healthcare Group is committed to assisting healthcare entities with establishing programs focused on caring for their caregivers as part of BETA HEART®, a robust suite of toolkits based on the principles of AHRQ’s CANDOR Toolkit and has developed a Care for the Caregiver module provided for your review. This module will help you develop a robust, sustainable response program to assist your employees across the organization as they cope with emotional trauma from any unanticipated adverse outcome or cumulative stress.

The Effects of Emotional Trauma in the Wake of a Patient Harm Event

In July 2019, the Mayo Clinic published a study focused on the effects of emotional trauma on healthcare providers following a harm event. One of the findings was that those experiencing emotional trauma due to an unanticipated patient harm event were twofold more likely to be involved in medical errors. The study found that approximately 75% of healthcare providers reporting an error experienced some degree of burnout with 7.5% reporting thoughts of suicide. While there is little data capturing the number of nurse suicides, it is estimated that approximately 400 physicians commit suicide annually. One report published by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (2016) states that the suicide rate among male physicians is 1.41 times higher than the general male population while female physicians and nurses suicides are at a 2.27% greater rate than the general female population.

For questions or inquiries about the Care for the Caregiver module or the BETA HEART Program, please contact our Risk Management Department at or call (925) 838-6070.