CFHI Supports 22 Patient and Family Engagement Projects Across Canada

Teams Will Bring Patient Voice to Improving Healthcare

Left to right: Judy Battista, Patient and Family Advisor; Valerie MacDonald, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Orthopaedics/Surgery; and Dolores Langford, Regional Clinical Resource Physiotherapist, Orthopaedic/ Musculoskeletal Populations, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority / Fraser Health, B.C.

Vancouver, Canada – August 8, 2014 – The Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement today announced its support for 22 teams from healthcare organizations across Canada to partner with patients and families on quality improvement initiatives. Teams from six provinces and one territory will harness the tremendous potential of patient and family engagement to improve the quality and efficiency of health services. Patients and family members will have a seat at the table, with each team including patient and family advisors as core team members.

Through the Partnering with Patients and Families for Quality Improvement collaborative, CFHI is providing seed funding and program support, including evaluation and coaching. Teams will develop, adapt and share tools and approaches, implementing them in their respective organizations. Support will be provided by experts who have successfully engaged patients and families in quality improvement initiatives and have advanced patient- and family-centered care.  

Projects focus on finding solutions to pressing healthcare challenges, including:

  • Implementing better bedside handoffs between nurses during shift changes;
  • Improving self-management of chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension;
  • Ensuring better transitions in care from hospital to home for patients following a hip fracture;
  • Supporting youth with disabilities and their families to navigate the transition from pediatric to adult services;
  • Helping adult survivors of childhood cancer monitor and take care of their health;
  • Redesigning admissions processes to improve transitions in care and better engage patients in establishing their goals for care; and
  • Improving quality of life for dialysis patients.

Teams span the continuum of care, including primary care, teaching and children’s hospitals, long term care, health and social services organizations, health regions and provincial cancer organizations. 


There are an estimated 70,000 preventable adverse events in Canadian acute care hospitals every year, costing Canadian healthcare systems $397 million annually. Adverse events are unintended injuries or complications resulting in death, disability or prolonged hospital stay that arise from healthcare management.

There is emerging evidence that meaningfully engaging patients and families improves the quality and efficiency of healthcare services. 

From 2010 to 2013, CFHI supported 17 Patient Engagement Projects (PEPs) across Canada that achieved measurable improvements in patient care.

One PEP at McGill University Health Centre partnered patients with frontline staff in redesigning care. The project has evolved to include more than 1,500 nurses and other healthcare providers, resulting in an 8% increase in direct time in care by registered nurses, a 20% improvement in patient experience of care, an 18% improvement in communication with nurses and a 60% reduction in medication transcription errors. Patricia O’Connor, RN, MScN, Senior Advisor, Patient Engagement at MUHC, faculty member of the new collaborative, who led the PEP will serve as faculty for the collaborative.

A second PEP, at Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance, produced 49 improvement initiatives at four rural community hospitals in southwestern Ontario. One initiative resulted in fast-tracking the turnaround time for blood analysis within a chemotherapy unit to 15 to 20 minutes from a previous average of 2 to 3 hours.


“On behalf of the federal government, I want to congratulate the 22 teams that were accepted into the Partnering with Patients and Families for Quality Improvement collaborative. Through funding for the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement, we are helping healthcare organizations work with patient and families to implement innovations that improve patient care.

The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health

“CFHI’s support for patient engagement projects has demonstrated the transformative effect of the patient voice in healthcare. Giving patients and families a seat at the table will improve not only their own care, but healthcare for all Canadians.”

Maureen O’Neil, O.C., CFHI President

"As a caregiver for a family member transitioning from the hospital to the home, I interacted with various healthcare providers who were all kind and well meaning. However, I noticed room for improvements that could make the transition so much easier for patients.  I'm excited to contribute my insights to the team so we can improve care for patients across two health regions in the Lower Mainland."

Judy Battista, Patient Advisor, Vancouver Coastal/Fraser Health team

“I am thrilled that CFHI is once again providing leadership and support to foster the development of authentic partnerships with patients and families in quality improvement across Canada. This new collaborative is addressing key areas and processes in the care experience where the perspectives and experience of patients and families will be particularly valuable. Health care organizations in both Canada and the United States will learn from this important work.”

Beverley Johnson, President and CEO, Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care

“Engaging patients and frontline staff in improving care provides different insights and better results than when providers work on their own. McGill University Health Centre’s patient engagement work has created a shift in culture, with patients and staff partnering to transform care at the bedside and I look forward to working with the teams.”

Patricia O’Connor, RN, MScN, Senior Advisor, Patient Engagement at MUHC, faculty member of the new collaborative

For a full list of teams and their projects, visit:


The Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to accelerating healthcare improvement by working with provinces, territories and other healthcare partners to promote efficient healthcare that delivers better outcomes. With a $10 million annual federal investment, CFHI supports the development of innovations that could save provincial-territorial healthcare budgets over $1 billion per year. CFHI is funded through an agreement with the Government of Canada.

For more information, please contact:

Graeme Wilkes
Senior Director, Communications & Government Relations
Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement
C:  613-698-7538