Improving the Patient’s Family Experience

It takes empathy, creativity, and attention to detail to enhance the hospital stay for the patient’s family members. Consultation with an expert in patient experience may greatly simplify the process of promoting strategy creation, patient care relevance, and more robust patient experience procedures, all of which contribute to better healthcare system improvement.
The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) has developed a framework for measuring the patient’s family experience in hospitals that integrates themes of patient anecdotes and other factors.
The Family Experience Measure (FEM) is portable, easy to use, and provides a framework for implementing family-centered care in healthcare settings. The FEM is a 7-item questionnaire that measures the extent of three “dimensions” of hospital care: physical environment; personal experience; and perceived responsiveness. A patient completes the questionnaire at discharge.
A newer 10-item version integrates a culture of safety theme and addresses restorative practices, teamwork, and staff communication and empathy. Hospital teams consider the results when making new or improved policies and procedures that lead to family experience improvements in their healthcare setting. Results are also used by leadership teams to identify the areas that need improvement in their hospital’s culture of patient-centered care.
Further, the FEM is a useful tool when talking with patients, families, and healthcare personnel to measure how well we are meeting their needs. Improving patient experience requires leaders to think about outcomes for their organizations and to create programs that can result in measurable improvement.
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to work with many hospital leaders and staff regarding patient experience enhancement. One of the most frequently asked questions is “How do I get started?” My goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to implement proven strategies and practices in your organization so that your patients and families are better cared for.


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