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During the past decade, we have seen evidence that when healthcare providers work closely with patients and their families, we can achieve great things. The healthcare system will be safer, and patients will have better experiences and health outcomes when patients, families, and the public are fully engaged in program and service design and delivery. Patient involvement is also important in monitoring, evaluating, setting policy and priorities, and governance.

This work is not easy and may even be uncomfortable at first. Providers may need to let go of control, change behaviours to listen and understand patients more effectively, brainstorm ideas together, build trust, and incorporate many different perspectives. Patients may need to participate more actively in decisions about their care. Leaders must support all this work by revising practices to embed patient engagement in their procedures, policies, and structures. But finding different and innovative ways to work together, even when it's challenging, benefits everyone.

When patients and healthcare providers partner effectively, the results are powerful. We invite you to join us in advancing this work. We welcome diverse perspectives and beliefs to challenge the status quo. Let's explore ways to shape new behaviours, using everyone's unique perspectives and courage to make healthcare a safe and positive experience.

A deep belief in the power of partnership inspired the Engaging Patients in Patient Safety - a Canadian Guide. Written by patients and providers for patients and providers, the information demonstrates our joint commitment to achieving safe and quality healthcare in Canada.

Better yet, bookmark this page. This resource is updated regularly. To ensure you are accessing the most up-to-date version, we recommend that you bookmark this page for future reference. 

Who is this guide for?

The guide is for anyone involved with patient engagement, including:

  • Patients and families interested in how to partner in their own care to ensure safety
  • Patient partners interested in how to help improve patient safety
  • Providers interested in creating collaborative care relationships with patients and families
  • Managers and leaders responsible for patient engagement, patient safety, and/or quality improvement
  • Anyone else interested in partnering with patients to develop care programs and systems

While the guide focuses primarily on patient safety, many engagement practices apply to other areas, including quality, research, and education. The guide is designed to support patient engagement in any healthcare sector.

What is the purpose of the guide?

This extensive resource, based on evidence and leading practices, helps patients and families, patient partners, providers, and leaders work together more effectively to improve patient safety. Working collaboratively, we can more proactively identify risks, better support those involved in an incident, and help prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. Together we can shape safe, high-quality care delivery, co-design safer care systems, and continuously improve to keep patients safe.

What is included in the guide?

  • Evidence-based guidance
  • Practical patient engagement practices
  • Consolidated information, resources, and tools
  • Supporting evidence and examples from across Canada
  • Experiences from patients and families, providers, and leaders
  • Outstanding questions about how to strengthen current approaches
  • Strategies and policies to meet standards and organizational practice requirements

Chapter summaries

Engaging patients as partners

  • Why partner on patient safety and quality
  • Current state of patient engagement across Canada
  • Evidence of patient engagement benefits and impact
  • Challenges and enablers to patient engagement
  • Embedding and sustaining patient engagement

Partners at the point of care

  • Partnering in patient safety
  • Partnering in incident management

Partners at organizational and system levels

  • Preparing to partner
  • Partnering in patient safety
  • Partnering in incident management

Evaluating patient engagement

  • Introduction to evaluating patient engagement
  • Evaluating patient engagement at the point of care
  • Evaluating patient engagement at the organizational level
  • Evaluating patient engagement integration

Click here to learn how and why was the guide developed.







Patient Engagement Action Team. 2017. Engaging Patients in Patient Safety – a Canadian Guide. Canadian Patient Safety Institute. Last modified February 2018. Available at:  

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