Chair Files

Best Practices for Patient and Family Engagement

Engaging patients and families in health care can help hospitals achieve the Triple Aim: better care, better health, lower costs. At Schneck Medical Center, a 93-bed community hospital in Seymour, Ind., engagement efforts include (mostly) unlimited visiting hours, bedside shift-change reports, and a patient and family advisory council. A recipient of the 2011 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, Schneck formed its patient and family advisory council five years ago. This council includes community representatives as well as hospital representatives: the CEO—who attends every meeting—board members, COO, VP of financial services, risk manager, directors of patient services and marketing, and hospitalists. The council meets quarterly or as needed to discuss patient safety—an agenda item at every council meeting—patients’ rights and responsibilities, discharge instructions and more. How important is the council’s work? During orientation, new hospital employees meet with senior leaders and immediately afterward with a panel of the council. Council members are the “eyes and ears of our hospital,” says Sheryl Tiemeyer, director, patient services. “We see them as our most vocal critics and strongest supporters.” Schneck measures progress of its engagement efforts using Press Ganey and HCAHPS scores. The hospital also credits the council with helping reduce readmissions, a result of the council’s input on the discharge process.

For more information, contact Tiemeyer at or Suki Wright, director, organizational excellence, at Schneck and two other hospitals are featured in a HPOE Live! webinar on patient and family engagement. The AHA’s Health Research & Educational Trust partnered with the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to survey hospitals about their patient and family engagement practices. This survey can be accessed at and used as a self-assessment.


Additional Resources

Webinars December 13th, 2017

Equity of Care Webinar SeriesPart 2: Aligning Diversity and Inclusion, Community Engagement, Busi......

Webinars November 20th, 2017

Equity of Care Webinar SeriesPart 1: Aligning Diversity and Inclusion, Community Engagement, Busi......

Webinars November 17th, 2017

Transportation and the Role of Hospitals This AHA webinar on “Transportation and the Role of Hos......