Critical incidents are classified according to the following six categories (as described in the Saskatchewan Critical Incident Reporting Guideline, 2004). Note: for the purpose of these definitions, the word "patient" is used to represent a client, resident or patient.
I. Surgical events include critical incidents that occur during a surgical, endoscopic or other invasive procedure. For example, surgery performed on a wrong body part or the retention of a foreign object would be included in this category.
II. Product or device events are those critical incidents where a patient is harmed or has the potential to be harmed by the function or malfunction of the equipment that is used during the provision of care. For example, use of an unsterilized device or the failure of a piece of equipment in patient care would be included in this category.
III. Patient protection events include critical incidents where the provider fails to provide for the safety of the patient receiving care. For example, an infant is discharged to the wrong person or a patient disappears while being cared for would be included in this category.
IV. Care management events are those critical incidents that result during the provision of patient care. This category encompasses the most diffuse and frequently reported types of critical incidents and can include such things as medication errors or an error in diagnosis.
V. Environmental events are those critical incidents where patients are harmed as a direct result of their immediate physical environment. For example, patient death associated with a fall or a patient burn or unintentional electric shock.
VI. Criminal events are those critical incidents where a patient is harmed as the result of illegal activity by another person and for which a criminal charge could result. For example, a physical or sexual assault of a patient.