Group of friends

The Living History Program at Yale New Haven Hospital is an innovative initiative that provides an opportunity for caregivers to learn about and honor patients’ lives. The program harnesses the power of two key drivers for improvement in reducing readmissions:

(1) Teach-back and (2) Engaging patients to elicit their perspective on their own care.

The initiative uses trained undergraduates to conduct open-ended interviews with patients while sitting at the bedside. During the interviews, the students listen to the patients’ stories about their lives, what is important to each individual patient and their goals of care. Patients are given an opportunity to share what is vitally important about their own history, something that might not be captured in the course of caring for the patient otherwise.

“This innovative approach to really understanding patients’/resident’s history and what their goals of care may be.  This is a perfect marriage of looking at care transitions through teach-back and how important meaningful conversations are to understand what the person wants related to healthcare decisions. What an impact this program could have on both care transitions and allowing the discussion with providers and patient’s/residents on end-of-life goals and wishes.” Tammy Baumann, RN, LSSGB, CADDCT, CDP; Quality Improvement Advisor with Great Plains QIN.

Following the interview, a written record of that story is given to the patient and reviewed with them to ensure accuracy; teaching the students the power of a teach-back. Once the story has been reviewed and approved by the patient, it gets uploaded into the electronic health record, and made available to the care team. The patients’ story give caregivers an opportunity to understand their patients; connecting the patient’s story to understand their own goals of care and to find out what really matters to each patient.

On April 16, 2019, we will celebrate both National Care Transitions Awareness Day and National Healthcare Decisions Day; an excellent opportunity to draw attention to efforts like this to improve care and quality of life for our patients and loved ones.

Past GPQIN Webinar Recordings

The Great Plains Quality Innovation Network has hosted two excellent presentations on the topic of improving end-of-life care through patient engagement. Links to both recordings are included below.