Framework for Diversity in Patient Engagement

June 2020

Patient engagement efforts have been rapidly evolving and expanding across all levels of the healthcare system in Canada. However, many efforts do not necessarily capture the patient populations they serve, including those from ethnocultural backgrounds, patients who do not speak English or French, and those in lower socio-economic backgrounds and underserved communities. The issue of engaging more diverse patients, family and caregivers is a common challenge.

In 2019, the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement hosted a Diversity in Patient Engagement Learning Exchange (DLE) which brought together patient engagement leaders and patient partners from across Canada to consider diversity in patient engagement methods. One of the key lessons that surfaced from the event is a common set of principles - a framework - that can guide inclusive, meaningful and diverse patient, family and caregiver engagement.

This framework is based on the Valuing All Voices Framework developed by researchers at the University of Manitoba Centre for Healthcare Innovation, which embraces a health equity lens to patient engagement, considering elements such as trauma-informed care, intersectionality and reflexivity. The key pillars of the framework are trust, self-awareness, acceptance and communication and education, all of which are underpinned by relationship building.

This Framework is presented as a tool that can be completed together with staff, patients, family and caregivers to help guide and support diverse and inclusive engagement initiatives.

To support this process, we have included two case examples to illustrate how applying the framework strengthens outcomes for those receiving and delivering healthcare.

  • Inner City Health and Wellness Program (Edmonton, Alberta) involving people who use drugs in co-designing health services.
  • The Community Health Team of Nova Scotia Health Authority worked with the community who experienced greater barriers to accessing care to design services and support.

Download the Diversity in Patient Engagement Case Studies

Download the Worksheet