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Nursing Excellence

The Online Newsletter for Children's Nurses
e-Edition, Volume 1, Issue 2

Denise VermeltfoortPatient and Family Involvement in Care = Patient Safety

By Denise Vermeltfoort, MSN, RN, NE-BC Director of Regulatory and Clinical Practice

As healthcare providers, we do many things to ensure patient safety. These include partnering with families to provide safe care to their children. Each patient family –whether by participating in “gel in, gel out” hand hygiene, raising bed rails to prevent falls, or providing a list of home medications – assists us in ensuring safe patient care.Nursing Excellence

Involvement of the patient and family is core to the care we provide at Children’s Hospital. The principles of family-centered care are part of our philosophy of care and a key component of the L.E.G.A.C.Y. Care Delivery Model: 

  • Leadership
  • Excellent Patient/Family Care:
    “Excellence in care, as reflected by quality outcomes, is the primary focus.The model supports the principles of family-centered care emphasizing patient/family involvement.”
  • Growth
  • Accountability and Autonomy
  • Collaboration
  • Your Professional Practice

Drs. Susan Winter and Joseph Shen with patient familyNational Patient Safety Goal (NPSG) 13 “encourages patients’ active involvement in their own care as a patient safety strategy.” It also emphasizes that, “Communication with the patient/family about all aspects of care, treatment and services is an important characteristic of a culture of safety. When the patient knows what to expect, he or she is more aware of possible errors and choices. The patient care can also be an important source of information about potential adverse events and hazardous conditions.”

NPSG 13 for 2009 includes the following elements of performance:

1. Provide patient/family education, as applicable, regarding:

  • Methods for reporting concerns related to care, treatment, services and safety;
  • Infection control measures for hand hygiene practice, respiratory hygiene practice and contact precautions; and the
  • Prevention of adverse events in surgery including patient identification practices, prevention of surgical infections, and marking the procedure sites.

2. Encourage the patient/family to report concerns about safety.


Children’s process includes four steps to engaging the patient and family as a “partner in care.”

  • Provide Information: The patient/family education tool entitled “Being Involved in Your Child’s Care” is available to support patient/family education.
  • Discuss the information with the patient and family during orientation and/or a visit.
  • Evaluate the patient/family understanding of the information.
  • Document that the patient/family received the information, and the evaluation of patient/family learning.

Remember, our patients and families are our “partners in care” working together with us to provide safe, quality care.

1.Joint Commission (2009) National Patient Safety Goals [Goal 13], In 2009 Hospital Accreditation Standards Manual pg. 242-243.  Oak Brook Terrace, IL: The Joint Commission.


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