What is an always event

An Always Event is a clear, action-oriented, and pervasive practice or set of behaviours that:

  • Provides a foundation for partnering with patients and their families;
  • Ensures optimal patient experience and improved outcomes; and
  • Serves as a unifying force for all that demonstrates an ongoing commitment to person- and family-centred care.

Always Events are aspects of the patient experience that are so important to patients and family members that health care providers must aim to perform them consistently for every individual, every time. These can only be developed with the patient firmly being a partner in the development of the event, and the co-production is key to ensuring organisations meet the patients’ needs and what matters to them.

An Always Event must meet four criteria:

  1. Important: Patients and family members have identified the event as fundamental to improving their experience of care, and they predict that the event will have a meaningful impact when successfully implemented.
  2. Evidence-based: The event is known to contribute to the optimal care of and respect for patients and family members (either through research or quality improvement measurement over time).
  3. Measurable: The event is specific enough that it is possible to determine whether or not the process or behaviours occur reliably. This requirement is necessary to ensure that Always Events are not merely aspirational, but also quantifiable.
  4. Affordable and Sustainable: The event should be achievable and sustainable without substantial renovations, capital expenditures, or the purchase of new equipment or technology. This specification encourages organizations to focus on leveraging opportunities to improve the care experience through improvements in relationship-based care and in care processes.