Page header will display here

Safety is Personal - Partnering with Patients and Families for the Safest Care

The National Patient Safety Foundation's Lucian Leape Institute - Report of the Roundtable on Consumer Engagement in Patient Safety




Health Literacy & Patient and Family Engagement


Limitations in health literacy can be common among vulnerable populations, including minorities, elderly, low income and English as a second language.
Most people do not have formal medical education and training and will have less understanding of medical terms, treatments, and medications. Challenges to health literacy are further exacerbated by:

  • Language barriers
  • Limited education/literacy
  • Cultural beliefs
  • Poorly designed medical materials (difficult to interpret/understand)
  • Poor communication with caregivers


The AHA/HRET Hospital Engagement Network (HEN) is partnering with the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care (IPFCC) through 2014. This partnership is designed to enhance the patient and family engagement (PFE) resources available to hospitals as we collectively work towards eliminating harm in health care.

Collaborative patient and family engagement is a strategy to build a patient- and family-centered health care system. In a patient- and family-centered health system, patients and families are encouraged and supported as essential members of the health care team and there are meaningful opportunities for them to serve as advisors and partners in quality improvement efforts, patient safety initiatives and health care redesign.


The Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care serves as a resource for patient and family leaders, clinicians, administrators, educators, researchers, and facility designers who are interested in advancing the practice of Patient- and Family-Centered Care. The Institute is proud to offer many Tools for Change.



AHRQ's Guide to Patient and Family Engagement in Hospital Quality and Safety

Research shows that when patients are engaged in their health care, it can lead to measurable improvements in safety and quality. To promote stronger engagement, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality developed the Guide to Patient and Family Engagement in Hospital Quality and Safety, a tested, evidence-based resource to help hospitals work as partners with patients and families to improve quality and safety.



AHA's Strategies for Leadership: Patient-and Family-Centered Care

Patient- and family-centered care is an approach to the planning, delivery and evaluation of health care that is grounded in mutually beneficial partnerships among patients, families, and health care practitioners.  By truly partnering with patients and families - not only involving them in decisions about their care, but also gaining the benefit of their help and insights to better plan and deliver care - patients can achieve better outcomes, and hospitals can improve the care for all patients and increase staff satisfaction.

To help hospitals become more patient- and family-focused in their care practices, the AHA partnered with the Institute for Family-Centered Care, a non-profit organization that serves as a resource for consumers, practitioners and policymakers who want to advance the practice of family-centered care, to produce the toolkit Strategies for Leadership: Patient- and Family Centered Care.