Developing a research program on using a restorative approach to address secondary harm to patients, families and clinicians after adverse events in our healthcare system


  • Allison Kooijman

Team members:

  • Jo Wailing
    Victoria University of Wellington
  • Robert Robson
    Healthcare System Safety and Accountability Inc.
  • Brenda Morrison
  • Malcolm MacLure
  • Fiona MacDonald 
    Univresity of the Fraser Valley
  • Diane Aubin
    Diane Aubin Consulting
  • Jennifer Llewellyn
    University of Dalhousie
  • Carolyn Canfield
  • Deb Prowse
  • Christina Krause
  • Devin Harris
    Interior Health
  • Sandi Kossey
    Canadian Patient Safety Institute
  • Jan Byrd
    Canadian Patient Safety Institute
  • Glenn McRae
    Interior Health
  • Wendy Nicklin
    International Society for Quality in Patient Care
  • David Gustafson
    Community Justice Initiatives Association
  • Alika Fontaine
    University of Alberta
  • Derek Puddester
    College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC
  • Ainsley Young
    Island Health
  • Ryan Sidorchuk
    Island Health

Patient harm in providing health services is a significant safety issue. Many efforts have been made to improve patient safety and prevent harm, however high rates of patient safety events continue. When patient harm does occur, there are negative effects for patients, families and health providers involved. Significant barriers prevent healing after harm. Patients have difficulty finding justice, health providers experience shame and self-doubt, and healthcare facilities are concerned with litigation and reputation. This disconnect between the health system (meant to heal) and the justice system (meant to punish) creates confusion for patients and health providers when medical treatment goes wrong. This process can prevent healing for both patients and health providers. A restorative approach builds relationships, shares experiences related to the harm, and focuses on fairness for individuals involved and to society as a whole. Such an approach has not yet been used in healthcare in Canada. This project brings together a team of researchers and knowledge-users to develop a program of research to address priority questions on this approach, to provide solutions for the impacts of harm for patients, families and health providers.