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In recent decades, evidence has emerged that demonstrates when healthcare providers work closely with patients and their families, the healthcare system is safer, and patients have better experiences and health outcomes. Engagement with patients and families includes program and service design and delivery as well as monitoring, evaluating, policy and priority setting, and governance.

Engagement work is not easy and often may be uncomfortable at first. Providers may need to let go of control, change behaviours to actively listen to what patients are saying, and take additional time to understand the patient perspective. It may require more effective ways to 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. Finding innovative ways to work together will benefit everyone.

We invite you to join us in advancing engagement by making healthcare safer.

Our deep belief in the power of partnership is inspired by the publication, Engaging Patients in Patient Safety – a Canadian Guide. It is written by patients, providers and leaders for patients, providers and leaders. We trust that you will find the information in this guide useful. It 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 safety and interested in 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 across the healthcare sector.

What is the purpose of the guide?

The purpose of the guide is to help patients and families, providers and leaders work more effectively together to improve patient safety. The guide is an extensive resource that is based on evidence and leading practices.

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
  • Probing questions about how to strengthen current approaches
  • Strategies and policies to meet standards and organizational practice requirements

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 December 2019. Available at:  

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