Information and support for Engagement Leads

The resources on this website have been designed, together with people who have lived and professional experience of investigations, to meet the requirements of the Patient Safety Incident Response Framework (PSIRF).

The Investigation Guide provides you with information to help you support patients and families to be involved during an investigation. It is important that you also familiarise yourself with the Patient and Family Guide, which works together with this. Please note that some of the material may not directly map on to current policy.

The resources are free to use within your own organisation. However, before using them or making any adaptations, please review our Terms and Conditions.


Available for download

Investigation Guide

Learn Together Investigation Guide

Patient and Family Guide

Learn Together Patient & Family Information

The 5-Stage Process: A Summary for Patients and Families

Learn Together Five Stage 1
Learn Together Five Stage 2
Learn Together Five Stage 3
Learn Together Five Stage 4
Learn Together Five Stage 5

Stage 1: Understanding you and your needs

One of the things that patients and families who have experienced a patient safety incident describe is the importance of having time and space to talk about what has happened, in their own words. This might be an important step on the road to recovery and help them begin to make sense of what happened. This first stage of the process supports you to work with patients and families to understand them and their needs following the incident. If early on in an investigation, patients and families feel that they are treated compassionately, and that their experiences are dignified and valued, this can really help to reassure them, and might support their further involvement. Reducing compounded harm starts from the first contact. The Investigation Guide provides you with some information and practical steps to reduce the risk of compounded harm.

Stage 2: Agreeing how you work together

This second stage of the process supports you to work with patients and families to develop a shared understanding of how the investigation will progress, what the investigation will look at and how you will work together based on the principles for working relationally. The Investigation Guide provides you with some suggestions of what to cover when you meet.

Stage 3: Giving and getting information

As the investigation progresses, you will enact the agreed ways of working to enable patients and families to be involved and engaged in the investigation process based on their preferences. You will also gather information from the relevant sources, including the patient and family, as they have a unique and valuable perspective on what happened and may have information others do not have access to. It is also important to regularly update the patient or family with the progress of the investigation in the way they would like to be updated, even if there is no specific news, and be transparent about any delays. There is more information and support relating to the stage in the Investigation Guide.

4: Checking and finalising the report

Before sharing the draft report with the patient or family, you should discuss the key findings with them, including sensitively preparing them for any information that might be unexpected or any points of disagreement. You should also prepare them for finding reading the draft report for the first time difficult, even if they are fully informed of the contents. Sharing a draft of the investigation report, and inviting patients and families to feed back about the accuracy of their account of the incident and other important details, is a visible way of demonstrating openness and transparency. It also ensures that the investigation has tried to address the questions that the patient and family asked to be addressed. It can also support you to ensure that the report is correct on important details. You can find more support and information relating to this stage in the Investigation Guide.

5: Next steps

This final stage of the process has been designed to help support you close the investigation in ways that dignify and reflect the potential impact on those involved. You should provide the patient or family with a copy of the final report and ask if they have any further questions or needs for support. If you are unable to meet their needs, you should advise them on where to access the appropriate support. There is more information and support relating to this stage in the Investigation Guide.