Families Are Our Partners in Care

Seattle Children’s is committed to family-centered care — an approach to care that recognizes the central role of the family in each child’s life. We actively include families as partners on the healthcare team. This partnership is based on open communication and mutual respect.

In the course of this partnership, families are empowered and feel more confident and competent. They learn about their child’s medical care and what to do. Through it all, they are supported with genuine caring.

The philosophy of family-centered care runs deep at Children's and is reflected daily in the activities of the hospital.

Family-centered care is not only integral to providing excellent care, it is also a guiding force in Children's policies and programs.

We honor each family’s uniqueness, and recognize that there is no single way to deliver a message or news to a family. Each family, each interaction is different.

Parents have the opportunity to become involved in many ways, from mentoring and supporting other parents to participating on committees.

A Family's Journey

“We anticipated the birth of our daughter with all the joy and excitement of any first-time parent, but it was accompanied by a secondary layer of fear due to a long series of abnormal ultrasounds that produced an inconclusive diagnosis.

Patient and family

Parents become involved in shaping hospital programs.

“This fear soon eclipsed the joy and excitement of her birth as the layers of her multiple disease states began to reveal themselves. During her first year of life she had five surgeries and multiple hospital stays; in that first year we spent more time in the hospital than we did at home.

“We came to Children’s because we felt it was the best hospital in the region for treatment of our daughter’s medical issues. What we found were people willing to work in collaboration with us. We were not made to feel like passive bystanders in our daughter’s care.

“Children’s has fostered an environment where we are welcome to take an active role. There is a sense of compassion and respect from the medical staff. They share their knowledge with us and consider our opinions when developing treatment plans for our daughter. This empowers us to participate in the decisions that are made with regard to our daughter’s medical care.

“Happily, the intensity of our daughter’s medical condition has lessened, allowing us to take advantage of the opportunities Children’s offers for parents to become actively involved in shaping hospital programs designed to address families’ needs.

“A chronically ill child presents a challenging journey for a family, but through partnering with the medical teams at Children’s we have been able to truly experience the joys of being parents.”

— Karen and Rich, Children's Family Advisory Council

Involving Parents in the Family Advisory Council

Seattle Children's Family Advisory Council is one important area of parent involvement. The Council provides feedback to hospital leadership on policies and issues affecting the family experience and offers guidance for topics from facility design to specific clinical practices.

Council members advise the hospital on ways to more effectively meet the needs of children and their families. The Family Advisory Council also undertakes special projects that support family-centered care.

Parents serving on the Council have had a wide variety of healthcare experiences and represent the diversity of the families served by Children's.

Learn more about family-centered care.