People for Patient Safety - Monday, October 12, 2020

Presenter: Sara Guastello, Vice President of Knowledge Management, Planetree International

When Quality and Safety Meet Person-Centered Care: Planetree International’s Guidelines for Preserving Family Presence in Challenging Times

Family caregivers transcends discrete episodes of care and settings. This positions them to become that elusive source of

continuity so lacking in our fragmented health care system, as well as critical partners in quality and safety. But, too often, family caregivers are relegated to the role of bystanders once a patient is in the midst of a health episode. The outbreak of COVID-19 has heartbreakingly furthered limited the ability of family caregivers to be present and involved in their loved one’s care. Widespread restrictions to family presence in hospitals, nursing homes and other care settings have undermined person-centered care, despite evidence that engaging family as a member of the care team creates better results.

Planetree International is a not-for-profit organization that has been advocating for more person-centered healthcare systems for more than 40 years. This year, Planetree’s efforts have largely centered on developing a set of concrete recommendations for safe, responsible, compassionate and equitable family presence policies to provide guidance to healthcare organizations during – and in the aftermath – of COVID 19.

Learn more about Planetree’s work to create a more person-centered healthcare system, including the Guidelines for Preserving Family Presence in Challenging Times, which you can access at

About Sara Guastello

As Vice President of Knowledge Management, Sara Guastello supports Planetree International’s mission of advancing person-centered care around the world. Sara leads the Person-Centered Care Certification Program, the only such program to recognize excellence in person-centered care across the continuum. In 2020, as part of a global Pop Up Coalition to Preserve Family Presence, she co-authored the Guidelines for Preserving Family Presence in Challenging Times, which was subsequently endorsed by more than 35 organizations around the world. Sara is co-author of the 2017 National Academy of Medicine discussion paper Harnessing Evidence and Experience to Change Culture: Guiding Framework for Patient and Family Engaged Care and the 2020 follow-up paper Patient and Family Engaged Care: An Essential Element of Health Equity. She also co-edited The Putting Patients First Field Guide: Global Lessons in Designing and Implementing Patient-Centered Care. In 2019, she served as a subject matter expert on Joint Commission International’s Standards Advisory Panel to provide guidance in introducing patient-centered care standards to the accreditation process, and in 2020, she was named to the National Quality Partners Action Team to Co-Design Patient-Centered Health Systems.

Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy
Sara Guastello