Patient Family & Community Engagement

Patient and family engagement: Bridging together interprofessional practice and patient- and family-centred care

Patient and family engagement as part of the health care team is increasingly recommended to meet the objective of providing safer and more coordinated care, as well as enhancing patient satisfaction. This project explores both health care professionals’ and patients and families’ experiences with patient- and family-centred care (PFCC) and interprofessional practice (IPP). Data were collected through individual interviews with 29 health care professionals and 17 patients and families on medicine and pediatrics at a tertiary care teaching hospital. Inductive coding and thematic analysis outcomes are presented using qualitative description. We used communicative action theory to interpret the gap that emerges in our findings between the ideals and practice of IPP and PFCC. Our findings reveal that strategic action takes place far more often than communicative action. The domination of communication by health care professionals, among other systemic factors in health care, contributes to the marginalized status of patients and families in the health care team instead of being at the centre, and them being informed instead of being truly engaged. The lived experiences of patients and families are overshadowed by the needs of the health care system. Patient and family engagement has the potential to support the implementation of PFCC and IPP in health care delivery. Communicative action theory could be used as a theoretical framework for further research and evaluation of patient and family engagement.