How to Identify Patient Partners

Once you have a plan in place, and have reached out to find a patient partner, you will be faced with determining what your criteria is for identifying the best patient partner to join your team.

This process will depend on what the best fit for your goals and objectives would be as well as whether you want to meet potential patient partners in person, or via telephone.

Here are some helpful questions that you can use to discuss involvement with your engagement with a patient partner:

Why do you want to volunteer?

  • Why are you interested in being a patient partner?
  • Do you have a recent health care experience, or a past health care experience that was important to you?
  • What area of health care did your experience take place in?
  • Were you the patient, family member or friend of a patient or a visitor?
  • What unique life experiences or perspectives would you bring to your role?
  • What are your areas of interests? Areas that you wish to contribute and/or develop skills in?
  • How do you think you can best contribute to our work?
  • Do you feel able to share your experiences in ways that others can learn from? Can you provide an example?
  • Do you have any concerns about the emotional experiences you may have in sharing your story?

Your questions/considerations?

  • Tell me a bit about yourself. (i.e. what do you like to do in your free time, what things are you interested in, where are you from?)
  • Is there any other information that you think might be important for us to know about you?
  • Are there any kinds of accommodations or additional support from us that will help you in your volunteer experience?
  • Do you bring the perspective of someone from an economic, social, cultural, economic or geographically group that is well represented or not well represented?
  • Are you a member of an underserved or underrepresented population? If so, which population is that and would you feel comfortable representing their perspective?
  • What other volunteer work have been involved with and with which organization(s)? Tell me more about it…

How do you want to interact?

  • What is your preferred method of contact – email, phone, mail?
  • What communications and computer technology is available to you? (i.e. do you have access to a phone? The internet? )
  • Are you able to travel? (i.e.: within your city, general region?)
  • How often may we contact you?
  • How do you prefer we touch base? (Phone or e-mail?)
  • Do you have any questions I can help answer right now?

Source:  Adapted from a Resource Toolkit for Engaging Patient and Families at the Planning Table, Alberta Health Services

Resource Category

Health Care Partner

Resource Type

Tips & Checklists

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