The Importance of Post Crisis Strategies for Hospital Staff

Why does your organisation need robust post crisis strategies? 

29 February 2024
CPI & Mien Bhagwandin
Tired hospital staff leaning against a window.

I often hear from participants in the training room that in their organisation, debriefing is not always done consistently after an incident.Often, they mention that there is simply not enough time to do so.

However, they do recognise that a good post crisis strategy is an essential learning tool for the future, to prevent more incidents and to help strengthen staff responses.

As an organisation you will want to learn from incidents and therefore a Post Crisis strategy is essential.

Ask the question ‘why it went wrong’, not whether someone did something wrong.

Many things have often preceded an incident.

  • Have any risks been overlooked?
  • Do employees need additional training?
  • Can the service be improved?

These are the kind of things that can come to light when a Post Crisis Strategy is in place.

How can you improve your post crisis strategy?

Some of the actions organisations could implement as a Post Crisis Strategy are the following:

  • Registration of all incidents. Is there a tool for this implemented through the organisation?

This will help to gain insight in the nature and extent of the incident (e.g level of aggression).

  • Is there a consistent process for debriefing?

Debriefing can be formal or informal. Organisations should identify when a formal debrief for staff is necessary and it is advised that both formal and informal approaches still follow a consistent plan. The level of formality can correspond to the severity of the incident. During a debrief we can identify what needs to change and what should remain the same.

  • How serious was the incident and what is the risk of it happening again?

As mentioned, not all incidents will require a formal debrief for everyone involved. A risk assessment is needed to assess the level of risk. Debriefing for service users could also be in the form of a feedback form if the incident was classified as low risk.

  • Why did the incident occur? Understand what has led to the incident.

Look at the situation and what were the circumstances leading up to it. There is no room for subjective observations- you need to remain objective.

  • Do similar incidents happen often?

 Can we recognise patterns? If we do see similar incidents, we need to look at what changes that can be implemented to reduce the likelihood of the incidents reoccurring.

  • Creating a safe environment for staff to be able to self-reflect.

As highlighted before, an effective debrief is not about attributing blame, staff will need to feel confident that although actions may be identified is about learning and improving. Therefore, you will want staff to feel safe and be able to evaluate their actions objectively.

  • What are some other ways to supporting staff?

Identifying if more training is needed and develop a plan to implement it. Organisations should also look at their reporting of incidents policy and making it easy to access and follow. Also, if a report has been made, leadership should acknowledge this in a timely manner, so staff feel that their voice is being heard.

Benefits of a good post crisis strategy

By having a Post Crisis Strategy in place, organisations could work towards the targets below:

 Possible targets to be achieved:

  • Fewer incidents.
  • Reduced serious incidents.
  • More satisfied employees when they feel heard and receive aftercare
  • More satisfied (less frustrated) service users
  • Improved employee safety
  • Less damage to employees, psychological and physical
  • Reduced absenteeism due to incidents
  • Decrease in loss of working time due to incidents
  • Lower costs relating to destruction, theft, vandalism.


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