Making home care safer is a priority for the CHCA. According to the 2013 Safety at Home: A Pan-Canadian Home Care Study, 10 – 13% of home care clients experience an adverse event on an annual basis and over 50% of adverse events are preventable. The main types of adverse events are falls, mediation errors and infections. This landmark study has guided the directions of CHCA safety work as we have engaged our members and partners in a variety of initiatives to increase safety in the home.

Providing safe care in an unpredictable and / or inconsistent home setting poses unique challenges that require the engagement and active involvement of professional care providers, patients and family caregivers. Safety in the home is everyone’s responsibility, it can only happen when information is openly shared and communicated without fear of negative consequence. Empowered and informed patients and caregivers are essential to ensuring safety at home. Professional and frontline clinical staff and organizational leaders need to have a good understanding of strategies and tools to prevent risk, identify opportunities and effectively manage safety at home.


CHCA Homecare Safety Virtual Quality Improvement Collaboratives
The Canadian Home Care Association (CHCA) and Canadian Patient Safety Institute(CPSI) partnered with a variety of organizations and homecare agencies to offer two different learning collaboratives to address quality improvement and patient safety practices.
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Integrated Safety Model and Conversation Guides

This model reframes the concept of ‘patient risk’ to a more positive perspective of ‘patient safety’.  The model emphasizes ongoing conversations among patients, caregivers and health care providers to facilitate behaviour change that results in creating and maintaining a safe home environment.

The Am I Safe? integrated safety model builds on two fundamentals: (i) patients are stewards of their own safety, and (ii) safety is a continuous conversation. The CHCA has developed conversation guides to support patients, their caregivers and home health care providers in this model.

Download the Am I Safe? Conversation Guides for:


Located in central Toronto, ComForCare provides more than 1,500 hours / week of private home support services and care. Am I Safe? champions are part of their safety council and participate in peer-to-peer training on how to use the conversation guides.  The Am I Safe? tools are included in mandatory annual online staff training modules and copies are kept in the home for clients and families to use.

The Right At Home Canada staff in the Kitchener-Waterloo-Guelph branch are excited to have resources designed specifically for care providers and clients and families. The team has incorporated the conversation guides into new hire training, includes them in client information packages, and references the guides in care assessment and planning processes.

RNS Health Care Services provides 1.1. million visits for more than 8500 clients on a yearly basis. “Having the conversation guides  helps give staff and families a starting point and facilitates the conversation with compassion and understanding,” states Angela Westheuser, CEO and President of RNS.  The team includes the conversation guides in the training of new hires, makes it available electronically to all staff and provides the guides to all new clients.

Home Care Safety Improvement Collaboratives

The first-of-its-kind Home Care Safety Improvement Collaborative was introduced in May 2015.  Together with the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) and the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement (CFHI) the collaborative worked to improve processes and minimize falls in the home setting.

In February 2017, eight leading organizations from across the country began a journey to improve safety and quality in home care. The teams tested ideas to make home care safer and better in the following priority areas: care resources for clients with dementia, falls prevention, end-of-life care, case management for complex clients and health associated infections for central and peripheral lines.

Quick Facts

of home care clients experience an adverse event on an annual basis
2013 Safety at Home: A Pan-Canadian Home Care Study

More than 1 in 9 ER visits
are due to drug-related adverse events, a potentially preventable problem.
CMAJ, Vol. 178, Issue 12, 3 Jun 2008

of all reported ER visits by seniors are due to falls.
Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2018

Over 50%
of adverse events in the home are preventable
2013 Safety at Home: A Pan-Canadian Home Care Study


AM I SAFE? Environmental scan

This environmental scan of the tools and resources available in Canada includes care providers within the health care system in three targeted areas (hospital discharge planners, primary health care and home care service providers). Download Scan

Use your medications safety – Infographic

This user-friendly resource helps patients and caregivers understand and use safe medication practices.  Based on evidence-informed reports, this infographic outlines steps to (a) know medications (b) record medications and (c) review and update a patient’s medication list. Download Infographic

Safety at Home – Falls prevention

Falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations among older people.  Apart from causing injury, falls can result in chronic pain, reduced quality of life and, in severe cases, death (PHAC, 2005).   This webinar features an overview of the report Pan-Canadian Safety at Home Safety Study: Implications for Falls Prevention in Home Care and a presentation on Home Care Falls Prevention: Leveraging Best Practices. Download Presentation

Safety at Home – Medication Management

Adverse medication events can occur due to errors in a variety of areas including:  documenting, interpreting and labeling of medications; the patient’s understanding of the timing, dosage, frequency, delivery; and the patient’s compliance.  This webinar features a presentation by Dr. Diane Doran, Professor, Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Lead Investigator on the report Safety at Home: A Pan-Canadian Home Care Safety Study, a discussion on the implications for medication safety in the home and recommendations on medication reconciliation. Download Presentation

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