Empowering Health Care Consumers

Project Title

Supporting Patient- and Family-Centered Care Practices and Strategies in the Time of COVID-19

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Empowering Health Care Consumers

Date Awarded

June 29, 2020


Outside New York State






As the coronavirus swept across New York State, hospitals and other parts of the health care system were overwhelmed.

Though crucial to preventing transmission, policies prohibiting or severely restricting the presence of family members or support persons increased the risk of social isolation and disrupted family connections and patient-provider relationships. New York State has responded by implementing and adjusting guidelines to balance safety concerns with patient needs. However, in the absence of national policy guidelines, hospitals and other institutions still require additional support for combining the best safety practices with best practices for patients and families. In 2020, NYHealth awarded the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care (IPFCC) a grant to provide support to health care institutions, providers, and consumers for sustaining patient- and family-centered practices during the COVID-19 pandemic response and recovery phases.

Under this grant, IPFCC compiled, developed, and disseminated resources, policy guidelines, and emerging best practices on patient-centered care for use by Patient and Family Advisory Councils, resident volunteers in continuing care retirement communities, and health care professional staff in New York State and beyond. It also shared information with patients, family members, hospitals, and other health care settings on how to stay grounded in patient-centered care concepts as they adapt to pandemics. Topics included developing effective and culturally appropriate communication strategies; employing ethical frameworks for family presence and visitation; mitigating negative consequences of misinformation on safety; and virtually involving patients, family advisors, and volunteers. IPFCC developed an advisory committee comprising expert patient and family leaders and faculty from New York State and across the nation to provide strategic direction. Additionally, it tracked information and trends about COVID-19’s impact on family presence and participation and the involvement of patient advisors, using the data to prioritize issues needing guidance and resources. IPFCC also facilitated virtual discussion sessions with New York State institutions on how they can better partner with patients, residents in continuing care retirement communities, and families.

See the toolkit “Family Presence During a Pandemic: Guidance for Decision-Making.”