Sentinel Event

Do you know what to do in the case of a sentinel event?

During the course of your employment, you may be directly or indirectly involved in a sentinel event.

For example:

  • You are directly responsible for a patient’s death, or serious harm; or
  • You are a witness to events that then leads to a patient’s death or serious harm.

In this case, members are advised to contact their professional representative NPAQ  24 hr line 1300 CODE PH (2633 74) PRIOR to being formally interviewed by police or management.

If approached by police you will most likely be required to provide your name, address and D.O.B. - You are not required by law to provide a statement to or be interviewed by police. 

If asked to, respectfully insist that you would like to contact the NPAQ before proceeding.


Members are strongly advised to do the following immediately after the event.

  • Write a statement pertaining to the event including the following:
    •  The FACTS of the incident, dates, times, dosage amounts, people etc. (Use dot points)

This is your record and should not be given to anyone PRIOR TO GETTING LEGAL ADVICE.

  •  Hospital or Institution policy will require you to write in the person record and you may be asked to complete an incident form.

Again, Enter the FACTS in dot point. It is preferable to get advice before doing this.   


Members are advised to secure the following but not remove from the place of employment as this is confidential information.

  1. Information given at handover about the patient  i.e. YOUR  actual clinical handover sheet with or without written  notations
  2. Document the names, positions held i.e. Clinical Nurse, EN on duty at the time of the incident and those actually on the ward at the time ie some staff members may be out of the ward at the time.
  3. The names of any other people present i.e. relatives, visitors, allied health workers, wardsmen, cleaning staff, kitchen or catering staff.
  4. Hospital policy documents relating to the incident.
  5. Names of doctors attending.
  6. Names of Hospital management attending


Under Section 8 The Coroners Act  2003, any death that is unnatural, or health care related or occurs in care is a reportable death.

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.