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CPSI Share                                                                  

Patient partners

  • Find out how to participate in quality and patient safety work. If no opportunities exist or match your interests, provide this feedback.
  • Reflect and be honest about your motivations for becoming a patient and family partner (e.g., to help prevent harm and improve experiences or to resolve a contentious issue).
  • Learn how to become an effective patient partner and ask how the organization will support you in your role (e.g., expense reimbursement, training, resources, emotional support).
  • Get clarity about your role, expectations, and the purpose of the work.
  • Ask about or suggest ways to bring in more patient perspectives if you are not sure the topic is felt or experienced more broadly (e.g., surveys or interviews with other patients and families).
  • Clarify unfamiliar language and terms used by quality team or committee members.
  • Ask about the organization's quality and safety frameworks and become familiar with the basic concepts, tools, training, and mentorship opportunities.
  • Find out when and how you will hear about project outcomes and next steps.
  • Provide input into risk and patient safety priorities based on your experience.
  • Understand the patient engagement processes and help identify gaps and solutions.
  • Help develop goals and indicators that matter to patients and families.
  • Ask how to get involved in incident analysis and incident management.
  • Find out the procedure and resources available to patients and families after harm. Bring forward questions, concerns, and improvement ideas to the incident management process.

Providers, patient engagement specialists

  • Understand how patient engagement in patient safety is organized and resourced in your organization.
  • Reflect and be honest about your own beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours that help or hinder authentic patient engagement.
  • Continue to develop your patient engagement competencies and skills; invite feedback on your performance from patient partners.
  • Learn about, champion, and help advance good patient engagement practices.
  • Build coalitions, solicit feedback, and get support from others about engagement processes.
  • Support patient partners and team or committee members:
      • Transfer knowledge between newer patient partners and experienced ones.
      • Always try to include at least two patient partners.
      • Facilitate a good fit between patient partners and the work.
      • Ensure everyone has relevant information to effectively participate (e.g., background, context, team membership, goals, terms of reference, glossary).
      • Involve patient partners as early as possible and establish lines of communications.
      • Introduce patient partners as key members and experts in the patient experience.
      • Create rules of engagement early on to set shared principles and mutual expectations.
      • Create a safe space for all—especially patient partners—to speak up. Never assume that everyone is comfortable asking questions or raising concerns. Explicitly invite every new patient partner to speak up and take time to address their points.
      • Check in with everyone regularly to see how patient engagement is going and what to improve.
  • Know and follow your organization's policies and procedures for patient safety incident management (e.g., reporting, disclosure, incident analysis, learning, improvement).
  • Ensure all involved, including yourself, have access to practical and emotional support after an incident.


  • Support patient engagement in your organization:
      • Embed expectations for working with patients and families as partners wherever possible (e.g., mission, vision, policies, performance measures).
      • Provide an organizational framework, training, and support for patient engagement.
      • Position patient engagement structures and functions to effectively influence and contribute to patient safety, organizational goals, and priorities.
      • Communicate about patient engagement internally and externally. Make sure the people who use your services can access this information.
  • Nurture, support, and sustain patient engagement in patient safety:
      • Integrate patient engagement with patient safety across the organization, clarifying how teams, departments, and programs influence one another.
      • Ensure time and resources for patient engagement are appropriately allocated.
      • Provide opportunities for staff, patients, and families to learn how to create safe care.
      • Ensure a collaborative process for developing safety and quality improvement plans.
      • Test and embed promising patient engagement practices in your organization.
  • Incident management:
      • ​Value the role that patient partners play in responding to patient safety incidents.