The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has released new guidance on helping hospitals engage patients and their families in their care. The guidance includes four evidence-based strategies supplemented with tools and resources to:

* Recruit and train patients and family members to become advisors and help the hospital train clinicians and staff to work effectively with other patients and families;

* Promote better bedside communication to improve how patients and families interact with the health care team, understand the different roles on the team and the importance of being partners with clinicians;

* Teach patients and families what a bedside shift report is and how they can contribute to it; and

* Help clinicians take different approaches to plan and keep track of necessary tasks before a patient is discharged.

The guidelines, available here, were tested at 200-bed Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago; 324-bed Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Md.; and 76-bed Patewood Memorial Hospital in Greenville, S.C. Patient satisfaction scores increased at all three facilities, according to AHRQ. A video explaining the guidelines is here.

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