Safety netting; best practice in face of uncertainty

(Greenhalgh, Finucane, Mercer, & Selfe, 2020)

Aim: Promote safety-netting as best practice

Methods: Editorial + clinical examples

Limitations: Author’s views

In practice:

– Working collaboratively with the person to monitor symptoms: Therapeutic alliance, Shared Decision Making
– Use time as a reasoning tool: resolving symptoms or red flag developing
– Clear communication required
– Anticipating patient’s at risk

Important features:

  • Provide information (specific red flags)
  • Empower patients to recognise Red-Flags and seek timely appropriate care (when)
  • Advice on how & where to seek help
  • Explain natural history
  • Provide written instructions
  • Document safety-netting


  1. Correct information not given
  2. Language not heard / understood
  3. Content unclear

Greenhalgh, S., Finucane, L. M., Mercer, C., & Selfe, J. (2020). Safety netting; best practice in the face of uncertainty. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice, 48(May), 102179.

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