Leadership Lesson – March 2024: Driving Patient-Centered Care Through Meaningful Conversations

March 1, 2024

Words of advice from leaders on the front lines.
This month’s leadership lesson is from Carolyn Kazdan, MHSA, NHA, BCPA, a quality improvement specialist for Alliant Health Solutions.


Leaders have a profound impact on organizational culture. In health care, culture includes how centered our organizations are on what matters most to the patients we serve. Engaging patients in meaningful goals-of-care discussions is critical to providing patient-centered, individualized care. High-quality care can only be achieved when a patient’s care is aligned with their goals, preferences, and values1.

What can we do as leaders at all levels in our organizations to shift the paradigm from a task approach that obtains DNR status on admission to centering care around meaningful conversations held throughout a person’s stay?

Participate in National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) on April 16 and join health systems and communities across the country in inspiring, educating and empowering the public and our own teams about the importance of advance care planning. Alliant Health Solution’s Demystify Health Care Decision-Making:  NHDD Ready, Set, Talk! Event Planning Calendar has a planning framework and resource links to make participation easy and meaningful.

Need ideas?

  • Talk with your organization’s Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) or Resident and Family Council and learn how your patients, residents and their families feel about your current process for centering care around patient goals, preferences, and values and what ideas they have for improvement or engagement with NHDD.
  • Start small with a wellness initiative with incentives for staff and clinicians completing a health care proxy. One hospital held a health care proxy drive for staff with drawings for participants that included a Valentine’s Day dinner for two at a local restaurant. Think about upcoming occasions or events in your community that might inspire participation.
  • Host a table in your facility or local senior center with advance care planning documents and resources, or partner with other providers or community agencies to host a larger event.
  • The 2024 theme is Talk About It. Participate in a local podcast interview and share what you learned from having your own conversations and sharing what matters most with your designated proxy and personal physician.

It all starts with a conversation. Let’s Talk About It!

  1. Davis, Aretha Delight. “The Goals-of-Care Conversation: A Best-Practice, Step-by-Step Approach.” Advance Care Planning (ACP) Decisions. 2 Feb. 2024. Web. 13 Feb. 2024.