With funding from the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth), the New York Public Research Interest Group (NYPIRG) and the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care (IPFCC) will collaborate on a two-year initiative to work with 15-20 New York hospitals to change policies and practices to better support family presence and participation.

According to Sharrie McIntosh, Vice President for Programs at NYSHealth:

“NYSHealth is pleased to support NYPIRG and IPFCC on this project, which aligns with our goal of making the health care system more responsive to the needs and preferences of patients and their families. With evidence showing that hospital patients have better clinical outcomes, experience less medical errors, and have smoother discharge transitions when they have a family member or other informal caregiver present, the time is right to spread family presence and participation policies and practices across New York State.”

The project builds on IPFCC’s international Better Together: Partnering with Families campaign , a prior educational endeavor with NYC hospitals, and on the intent of The CARE Act. This initiative will support hospitals to change practice from treating families as “visitors” to welcoming them as members of the health care team. As a result, the quality, safety, and experience of care will be enhanced and best practice will be reflected in the following areas:

  1. Availability of 24/7 presence with hospitalized loved ones by designated family members and care partners.
  2. Family participation in bedside change of shift report and daily interdisciplinary rounds.
  3. Family involvement in planning for transitions in care.
  4. Clear communication about welcoming family presence and participation on hospital websites and in patient informational materials.

Fifteen to twenty hospitals across New York will be invited to participate in the Better Together Learning Community — and to change or enhance policy and practice in any of the areas outlined above. As part of the Learning Community, participating hospitals will receive coaching and other support from IPFCC staff and faculty during the duration of the project at no cost. Hospitals will be encouraged and supported in partnering with patient and family advisors in this process of change. Hospitals can also access the many tools developed for IPFCC’s Better Together initiative, now being implemented across the U.S. and Canada.

Because leadership is essential to the success of hospitals’ efforts to make this change in policy and practice, IPFCC’s first step is identifying 15-20 nurse leaders (hospital-wide or unit-level) who are committed to participation in this statewide Learning Community — and to systematically changing the concept of families as “visitors” in their organizations and to partnering with patient and family advisors.

If you are interested in this professional development opportunity to participate in the Better Together Learning Community, contact: Bev Johnson, President and CEO, or Deborah Dokken, Coordinator for Patient and Family Partnerships, at: IPFCC, 301-652-0281 or ddokken@ipfcc.org.