Patient and Family-Friendly Engagement Framework

What is Patient Engagement?

Patient Engagement means that patients and health care providers share ideas and discussions about how to improve care. ?Patient? could be the person who is getting the care or their family member or other caring person. Care that puts the patient first is called ?patient centered.? Our goal here at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) is to continue to give excellent patient-centered care. We know that we can reach this goal when we all work together.

We want patients to be engaged throughout their care journey: This includes during care, within the clinic or unit, within the UOHI, and within the community. This kind of engagement will improve care for individual patients, for patients in Ottawa, and for patients across health care systems. Here at the UOHI, we really want patient engagement to be part of daily life for our board members, leaders, researchers, staff, patients and caregivers.

Here are the values that guide patient engagement at the UOHI:

  • Sharing ideas
  • Support
  • Respect
  • Patient-centered care
  • Partnership

History of Patient Engagement at the UOHI

Patient-centered care has been at the heart of everything we do since the beginning. The University of Ottawa Heart Institute Patient Alumni Inc. was started by Mary Clinkett, the former Head of Physiotherapy, in 1985. Mary wanted to keep patients involved in the UOHI well after their first appointment. Her goal was to keep patients with heart conditions aware of heart disease, treatment, and prevention. The Alumni also made it possible for patients to share their experience and take part in the growth of the Institute in a really meaningful way.

Patient Engagement Today

Our Patient Alumni members are still an active part of our team. Over 8,000 past and current patients belong to the Patient Alumni. Members sit on committees, help us roll out new programs, review documents and help us create staff education. The Alumni is our best resource to help us meet our goal of delivering patient- centered care. The members work with us in clinical care and in research to keep patient engagement at the center of our work.

What does this mean for you as a patient, family/caregiver?

All UOHI patients become members of our Patient Alumni family. As a member, you may hear from UOHI staff to ask for your help, ideas or opinion. For example, you may be asked to take part in a group discussion, fill in a survey, read and comment on documents for patients or staff, or support other patients. If you really enjoy this kind of work, you can choose to become a Patient Care Partner or Patient Partner in Research.

Our Patient Partners work closely with our researchers and health care providers, like nurses and doctors, to improve our care and services. They are helping us reach our goal of becoming a world-class patient-centered hospital.



With your help, we are guided by our patient engagement values:

Move research from the lab into the hands of health care providers

When we engage patients in research, we make sure that our research goals are also our patients’ goals. Patients and caregivers can help us focus on research that is the most important to them.

  • Sharing Ideas: Making sure research takes into account many points of view and experiences.
  • Support: We want to make sure that patients have flexibility and support so that they can fully take part in discussions and decisions.
  • Respect: Researchers, health care providers, patients and caregivers all have a role to play. Everyone on the team adds value.
  • Patient-Centered Care: The end result of research should take into account what is important to patients, families and caregivers, like quality of life.
  • Partnership: Researchers, health care providers, patients, families and caregivers work together to find problems and solutions and set priorities.

Improve the Patient Experience

We know that engaging patients improves the patient experience.

  • Sharing Ideas: Culture, language, accessibility and unique personal needs are at the center of a patient’scare plan. Each patient needs a care plan that takes into account their values and needs.
  • Support: Family, spiritual and staff support are given to patients throughout their care journey.
  • Patient-Centered Care: Patient needs, values, choices and personal experiences are respected by the team.
  • Partnership: We teach patients about their choices so that they can take part in decisions about their care. The health care team talks to the patient about the pros and cons of different options so that patients can make choices that improve their quality of life.

Improve the end result of treatment

When a patient can talk about what quality of life means to them, it helps them make decisions about treatment options. We want the end result of the care we give to meet our patients’ needs.

  • Sharing Ideas: The health care team makes an effort to give quality care by supporting patients, taking into account their unique background. We know that education, income, and social support, for example, could affect how care is received and how care options are understood. These are issues that affect how a patient journeys through the health care system. It is important that all patients have easy access to education and resources so that care is fair and equal.
  • Support: Patients are supported in their journey through the health care system. We need to make sure patients get the care and help they need when unwell or dealing with health issues.
  • Patient-Centered: The health care team talks to patients about what is important to them. These discussions help the team make a care plan and help everyone assess how well treatment is working.
  • Partnership: We want our patients to be very active and involved in their health. This means that they take equal responsibility for their treatment and self-care. UOHI will provide tools and resources to help along the way.

Improve service for patients and their families and caregivers

When patients and their families and caregivers partner with us to design services, we can improve care and services for all patients.

  • Sharing Ideas: Services are designed to make sure that all patients get quality care, no matter their background. Patients come from a wide range of cultural, and social and education backgrounds. We want to make sure we give patients whatever support they need when making decisions about care and services.
  • Support: We give patients, families and caregivers the support they need to be involved. Patients,families and caregivers have a powerful voice and need to be heard when it comes to decisions that impact health care services.
  • Patient-Centered: We design our health care services with our patients and their families and caregivers. Patients’ values, experiences and points of view lead us in what we call? co-design?.
  • Partnership: Patients and families are active partners in setting agendas and making decisions that impact how we give care.