Patient Safety Awareness Week – Focus on Patient and Family Engagement

PUBLISHED: Mar 13, 2018
Relevant to: All Healthcare Organizations

The Institue for Healthcare Improvement's annual education and awareness campaign, Patient Safety Awareness Week, is March 11-17, 2018. In honor of Patient Safety Awareness Week, today’s StayAlert! reviews patient and family engagement, which research shows is a key component of patient safety and can lead to measurable improvements in safety and quality.

Engaging patients and families in care is not a separate initiative, rather it is a critical part of all quality and safety initiatives. Engagement includes activities such as:

  • Encouraging patients and family members to participate as advisors
  • Promoting better communication among patients, family members and health care professionals from the point of admission
  • Implementing safe continuity of care by keeping the patient and family informed through nurse bedside change of shift reports
  • Implementing open visitation policies
  • Engaging patients and families in discharge planning throughout the hospital stay

The challenge with patient/family engagement is shifting from a perspective of approaching the patient as an individual who “needs to be treated” to an individual who is a fundamental participant in their own care treatment.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) Guide to Patient and Family Engagement in Hospital Quality and Safety, link below, is an evidence-based resource designed to assist hospitals to work as partners with patients and families, to improve quality and safety. This is a great resource for hospitals as they seek to strengthen patient engagement. Included with today’s notice are example policies that address certain aspects of patient and family engagement.

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