Iowa Healthcare Collaborative

Person and Family Engagement in Healthcare

As the healthcare system continues to change, involvement of patients and their families is critical. They are essential partners in the effort to improve the quality and safety of healthcare. Person and family active participation will help to improve overall quality of patient care and will help to reduce opportunity for readmission.

Person-centered care means to include the patient in the whole experience of care. Improving communication with patients at the bedside, or institutionally through committees focused on quality improvement in patient care, will improve patient outcomes.

Patient ownership and engagement are essential for a high value-based system. These efforts can lead to positive impacts on patient satisfaction, length of stay, cost per case, medication safety and readmission reduction. Best practice efforts to engage patients and families in their care are showcased throughout the Partnership for Patients campaign. Those efforts highlight how to achieve system-wide adoption of patient and family engagement best practices.

The Partnership for Patients has developed three critical areas that include five key tactics to improve patient and family engagement. The critical areas include patient and family at:

Additional Resources:

*Below you will find tools to assist and guide you in exploring these areas.

Point of Care

Prior to admission, hospital staff provides and discusses a discharge planning check list with every patient that has a scheduled admission allowing questions or comments from the patient or family (e.g., the planning checklist may be similar to the CMS Discharge Planning Checklist).

  1. AHRQ Strategy 4: Care Transitions From Hospital to Home - IDEAL Discharge Planning
  2. CMS Discharge Planning Checklist (PDF)

Hospitals conduct both shift change huddles for staff and do bedside reporting with patients and family members in all feasible cases.

  1. AHRQ Strategy 3: Nurse Bedside Shift Report
  2. AHRQ Nurse Bedside Shift Report Implementation Handbook (PDF)
  3. AHRQ Nurse Bedside Shift Report Brochure (PDF)
  4. AHRQ Bedside Shift Report Checklist (PDF)
  5. AHRQ Training PowerPoint (PDF)


General Point of Care Tools:

  1. AHRQ Strategy 2: Communicating to Improve Quality
  2. NAQC Fostering Successful Patient and Family Engagement: Nursing's Critical Role (PDF)


Policy and Protocol

Hospital has a dedicated person or functional area that is proactively responsible for Patient and Family Engagement and systematically evaluates Patient and Family Engagement activities.

Become a Patient and Family Advisor - AHRQ

  1. AHRQ Working with Patient and Families as Advisors - Implementation Handbook (PDF)
  2. Patient and Family Advisor - Orientation Manual (PDF)

Hospital has an active Patient and Family Engagement Committee (PFEC) OR at least one former patient that serves on a patient safety or quality improvement committee or team.

Policy and Protocol Tools

  1. AHA Strategies for Leadership: Patient and Family Centered Care
  2. Partnering with Patients and Families to Enhance Safety and Quality: A Mini Toolkit (PDF)



Hospital has one or more patient(s) who serve on a Governing and/or Leadership Board and serves as a patient representative.

Governance Tools:

  1. IHI Getting Boards on Board
  2. Advancing the Practice of Patient- and Family-Centered Care in Hospitals (PDF)


Person and Family Engagement – Impact on the Healthcare System


Examples of Engagement Strategies


  • Health education and health literacy classes
  • Healthy lifestyle education
  • Using patient navigators and peers to provide support
  • Making local policy changes to promote healthier lifestyles


  • Using volunteers or patient advocates to support care
  • Involving patients and families in patient and family advisory councils, governance and other committees
  • Removing restrictions on visiting policies for families
  • Opening access to medical records
  • Using email and social media technology

Healthcare Team

  • Using bedside change-of-shift report
  • Involving patients and families in multidisciplinary rounds
  • Using patient and family activated rapid response
  • Providing shared decision making tools
  • Using patient Teachback
  • Using clinic-based multidisciplinary care teams


  • Seeking health information and knowledge
  • Adhering to treatment plans and medication regimens
  • Participating in shared decision making
  • Using online personal health records
  • Engaging in wellness activities


Additional Tools and Resources


Back to Top
© 2019 Iowa Healthcare Collaborative. All rights reserved.