Engaging Patients and Families

The patient must remain at the very center of care delivery as they are the ultimate drivers of their care. By empowering patients and their families, patient safety can be tremendously enhanced, especially by educated audiences. Patients must be empowered to speak up about their care and healthcare workers must become better active listeners about patient and family concerns. While healthcare is a complex, fast-moving machine, the need for partnership with patients and families is of paramount importance.

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) has developed several free resources that can assist healthcare facilities and providers with engaging patients and their families:

IHI Patient and Family-Centered Care Organizational Self-Assessment Tool
This self-assessment tool allows organizations to understand the range and breadth of elements of patient- and family-centered care and to assess where they are against the leading edge of practice. Use this self-assessment tool to assess how your organization is performing in relation to specific components of patient- and family-centered care, or as a basis for conversations about patient-centeredness in the organization
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IHI Partnering with Patients and Families to Design a Patient and Family-Centered Health Care System: A Roadmap for the Future
This paper provides background information to facilitate the development of an action plan to ensure that sustained, meaningful partnerships with patients and families are in place in hospitals and health systems; in community clinics and other ambulatory settings; in schools educating the next generation of health care professionals; in national associations; in federal, state, and community agencies; in foundations and advocacy organizations; and among payers.
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IHI Achieving an Exceptional Patient and Family Experience of Inpatient Hospital Care
Helping hospitals make sense of the many aspects of improving the patient and family experience
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This white paper includes:

  • A list of primary and secondary drivers that, taken together, will result in achieving the overall aim;
  • Exemplars from a variety of hospitals to help translate concept into action;
  • Tips on how to get started; and
  • Extensive references and a bibliography to provide further evidence, guidance, and applied examples.

Hospitals can use this framework to design their efforts to improve the patient and family experience — testing and implementing changes, weaving them into the fabric of daily work for everyone, and achieving outstanding results.