Patient Experience in Adult NHS Services

26th March 2012 by Louise Hudman

This guideline summarises good patient care, which hopefully we are doing already. It emphasises that patients should be involved in decision-making about their care and should be treated with respect at all times.

The most interesting thing which could change our practice is how we communicate risk to make it easiest for patients to understand. They give the following advice:

  • Express risks as absolute not relative ( eg risk rises from 1 in 100 to 2 in 100, rather than ‘it doubles’)
  • Make the denominators equal  (eg 5 in 100 and 10 in 100, rather than 1 in 20 and 1 in 10)
  • Use a natural frequency rather than percentage (eg 1 in 100 rather than 1%)
  • Present the risk over a period of time if possible (eg 1 in 100 over 1 year)
  • Express risk as both positive and negative (ie succeeds for 97 out of 100 and fails for 3 out of 100)
  • If possible, use pictures / diagrams / charts etc.


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