What is a Patient and Family Partner?

A patient and family partner is someone who:

  • Wants to help improve quality, safety and the patient/family experience at all points of care – clinic, hospital, out-patient, home care, and nursing home.
  • Gives feedback to Perham Health based on his or her own experiences as a patient or family member
  • Helps us plan changes to improve how we take care of patients
  • Volunteers his or her time (usually at least 1 hour and not more than 4 hours per month)
  • Patient and family partners provide a voice that represents all patients and families who receive care at Perham Health.
  • They partner with providers and staff to help improve the experience of care for our patients and family members.

Why Should You Become a Patient and Family Partner?

When you or your family member used our services, did you think there were things we could have done better? Do you have ideas about how to make sure other patients and families get the best care possible? At Perham Health, we feel your insights are valuable in helping to identify what really matters most to our patients in their healthcare experience.

“When my youngest son was born with complex medical needs, we visited multiple medical facilities which left us with positive and negative memories. Becoming a patient and family partner has allowed me the opportunity to work together with Perham Health to improve patient and family experiences for not only my family, but as a voice for other families as well.” – Cindy Schmitt, Patient Partner

What Do Patient and Family Partners Do?

We want to hear your story. Patient and family partners can help us in the following ways:

  • Share your stories. Partners help by talking about their health care experiences with clinicians, staff, and other patients.
  • Participate in discussion groups. Partners tell us what it’s like to be a patient at Perham Health, and what we can do to improve.
  • Review or help create educational or informational materials such as forms, health information handouts, and discharge instructions. Your help will make these materials easier for all patients and family members to understand and follow.
  • Work on short-term projects. We sometimes ask patient and family partners to help us make improvements – for example, helping to choose signs for wayfinding.
  • Serve on a patient and family advisory council. An advisory council discusses and plans changes to improve hospital and clinic quality and safety. Members include patients, family members, and staff.

Is Being a Patient and Family Partner Right for You?

Being a patient and family partner may be a good match with your skills and experiences if you can:

  • Speak up and share suggestions and potential solutions to help improve the patient experience for others
  • Talk about your experiences as a patient or family member
  • Think beyond your own personal experiences
  • Talk about both positive and negative care experiences and share your thoughts on what went well and how things could have been done differently
  • Work with people who may be different than you
  • Listen to and think about what others say, even when you disagree
  • Bring a positive attitude to discussions
  • Keep any information you may hear as a partner private and confidential