Development and Validation of WeCares, a Survey Instrument to Assess Hospitalized Patients' and Family Members' "Willingness to Engage in Your Care and Safety"

Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2020 Oct;46(10):565-572. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjq.2020.07.002. Epub 2020 Jul 26.


Background: Patient engagement is recognized as a method to improve care quality and safety. A research team developed WeCares (Willingness to Engage in Your Care and Safety), a survey instrument assessing patients' and families' engagement in the safety of their care during their hospital stay. The objective of this study is to establish the preliminary construct validity and internal consistency of WeCares.

Methods: WeCares was distributed to patients and families. With the survey responses, exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was performed to identify the factorial structure of WeCares. The internal consistency was assessed using Cronbach's alpha. Descriptive and comparative analysis was also performed to summarize patients' and families' responses.

Results: A total of 247 patients and families responded to the WeCare survey, of which 224 were used for EFA. EFA resulted in a 13-item, four-factor structure, including (1) comfortable sharing concerns, (2) responsibility for preventing errors, (3) perception of care team members' attitude, and (4) patients'/families' role in preventing errors. The Cronbach alphas were 0.716-0.866, indicating acceptable internal consistency. Overall, patients and families were comfortable sharing concerns with clinicians but preferred to remain anonymous. They believed that the care team members hold most responsibility for error prevention, however, and agreed on their ability to help prevent errors.

Conclusion: WeCares was developed to assess patients' and families' willingness to engage. WeCares can also be used to facilitate conversation about safety concerns and shared responsibility. The study team believes this would lead to patient activation in guarding their own care and ultimately improve patient outcomes and safety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Family*
  • Humans
  • Patients*
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires