Guide to Patient and Family Engagement in Hospital Quality and Safety
Patient and family engagement is an increasingly important part of hospitals’ efforts to improve their performance and patient care. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) awarded AIR and its partners a three-year contract in 2009 to develop, implement, and evaluate a Guide to Patient and Family Engagement in Hospital Quality and Safety. The Guide, published in July 2013, is intended to help hospitals develop effective partnerships with patients and family members to ultimately improve hospital quality and safety.
The Guide includes four strategies that reflect important opportunities for hospitals to engage and partner with patients and families. All strategies include educational tools and resources for patients and families, training materials and implementation guidance for health care professionals, and real examples from other hospitals. The following strategies are included in the Guide:
- Working with patients and families as advisors: Helps hospitals work with patients and family members as organization-level advisors
- Communicating to improve quality: Helps improve communication between patients, family, and hospital staff from the point of admission
- Nurse bedside shift report: Helps support safe handoff during shift changes by involving the patient and family in the nurse change of shift report
- IDEAL discharge planning: Helps hospitals better engage patients and families in the transition from hospital to home
AIR completed several tasks related to the Guide during the contract, including:
- Development – This included an environmental scan with a literature review, key informant interviews, and a review of existing tools to promote patient and family engagement; creation of draft tools and materials; and iterative testing of tools and materials with patients, families, and health care professionals.
- Implementation – Strategies in the Guide were used at three hospital sites over a nine-month period to ensure their feasibility, effectiveness, and acceptance by patients, family members, and health professionals.
- Assessment – An evaluation of the Guide’s implementation was used to determine how the strategies affect key outcomes including patient and family engagement in their own health care; patient and family engagement in hospital-level quality improvement and patient safety activities; patient experiences of care; staff satisfaction; organizational culture with respect to patient- and family-centered care; and hospital policies and practices.
- Dissemination – Identification and implementation methods and strategies to promote the Guide among hospitals, the public, and patients and families.
Led by AIR, the project team includes the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care (IPFCC), Consumers Advancing Patient Safety (CAPS), the Joint Commission, and the Health Research and Education Trust (HRET). The project Steering Group, which advises on all aspects of the project, includes additional representation from health care providers (Saint Barnabas Health Care System, Aurora Health, Planetree, and Emory Healthcare) and two patient and family advocates.