Patients And Families As Advisors: A Checklist For Attitudes

Health professionals across all disciplines and in all care environments have the opportunity to advance the practice of patient- and family-centered care. They do so by welcoming patients and families as partners in care — acknowledging patient and family expertise and strengths, encouraging their input, and acknowledging the value of their observations and perceptions. Are you ready to incorporate patient- and family-centered care into your practice?

  1. Do I believe that patients and their family members bring unique expertise to our relationship?

  2. Do I believe in the importance of patient and family participation in decision making at the program and policy level?

  3. Do I believe that patient and family perspectives and opinions are as important as professionals'?

  4. Do I believe that patients and families bring a critical element to the team that no one else can provide?

  5. Do I consistently let others know that I value the insights of patients and families?

  6. Do I work to create an environment in which patients and families feel supported and comfortable enough to speak freely?

  7. Do I listen respectfully to the opinions of patients and their family members?

  8. Do I believe that patients and families can look beyond their own experiences?

  9. Do I clearly state what is required and expected of patients and families in their advisory roles?

  10. Do I help patients and families set clear goals for their role?

  11. Do I understand that an illness or other family demands may require patients or family members to take time off from advisory responsibilities?

  12. Do I feel comfortable delegating responsibility to patients and families?

(These "Top Tens" and Checklists are adapted from Jeppson, E. Thomas, J. (1994). Essential Allies: Families as Advisors, courtesy of the Institute for Family-Centered Care, Bethesda, MD.)

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