Technical Assistance: Increasing Patient and Family Engagement (PFE) and Improving Patient Experience of Care

For questions or technical assistance, please contact:
Brittney Jackson, LMSW, MBA
Patient Services Director
(203) 285-1213

 A priority of the Network is to serve as a resource to both dialysis patients and professionals throughout quality improvement activities. 

  • Identify an individual to serve as a patient ambassador in your facility by clicking here
  • Set up a patient support group to help orient new patients or open communication among peers
  • Invite a patient to the beginning and/or end of a QAPI meeting to allow them an opportunity to voice their concerns
  • Share your facility's PFE policy with patients
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) main focus in all quality improvement activities (QIAs) is patient engagement.  Research has shown that facilities with patients whom are active members in their healthcare, achieve better clinical outcomes.
As a valuable participant of the healthcare team, patient advocates empower patients with renal failure to move forward with their lives after being diagnosed with kidney disease. They serve as a bridge for better communication with medical staff, which assures a better understanding of patients' concerns, issues, and priorities.

* Please note that the facility is responsible for implementing these activities. Patient ambassadors may be instrumental in helping the facility with the initiatives outlined below.
Tools & Resources
Patient Support Groups 

Initiating, implementing, and sustaining a support group can have its challenges. AAKP offers the Community Patient Support Group Guidebook. The resource was created to assist patients, family and caregivers, and dialysis providers with starting patient support or adjustment group in your service area. The AAKP website offers several ideas for session topics and patient education materials. Visit   for additional information or call (800)749-AAKP.


Patient Engagement Facility Checklist 
  1. Identify patients who are interested in being more involved at the facility level (All facilities are asked to nominate a patient ambassador, and that person will be included in this initiative)
  2. Work with those patients to establish support groups and/or new patient adjustment groups
  3. Invite patient(s) to participate in the QAPI meeting ( we are asking facility leadership for ideas on the best way to do so, for instance the Network host monthly meetings with CMS  and invites patients to talk for the first 10-15 minutes of the meeting before moving on to the other agenda items)
  4. Evaluate current processes related to patient, family, caregiver participation and determine if policies need to be developed or updated to address barriers related to patient and family engagement
Patient Ambassador Role: 
  • Distribute the Network and facility resources.
  • Provide interested patients with information about becoming a patient advocate and/or patient ambassador. Help with facility awareness with regards to patient and family engagement. 
  • Provide report of your patient concerns, suggestions, and observations at the facility's QAPI meeting.

We Want to Hear from YOU!
Please contact the Patient Services Director if you have questions, comments, or specific barriers that you would like to address.  Let us know if you have identified any best practices that you would like to share with the community.