Partnering with families is vital in everything we do at Seattle Children’s. You can help develop family-centered healthcare practices, programs and policies through our Families as Consultants Program. Examples of ways you can be involved as a consultant include:
- Taking part in feedback groups that focus on change
- Joining a hospital-wide or departmental family advisory group
- Becoming a member of a committee
- Reviewing written or Web-based materials
- Taking on other advisory roles
Families as Consultants Highlights
The Family Advisory Council (FAC) at Children’s has been around for over 20 years and generally consists of 14 to 15 parents who regularly meet with Children’s staff and administration, with the mutual goal of making Children’s a better place for children, their families and staff.
Examples of FAC accomplishments include:
- Producing two inspiring and instructional videos called “Parents Make a Difference: Partnering in Your Child’s Care” and "Los Padres Somos la Clave" ("Parents Are the Key"), which feature families and Children’s staff talking about the importance of a family’s role in the medical care of their child. The videos are used to educate employees at Children’s and medical facilities in other parts of the country, and to mentor and support families new to Children’s.
- Consulting with the facilities team to provide input into the planning of the hospital expansion and the design of the new patient rooms and units.
- Giving input to staff about the important issues of patient safety and managing children’s pain.
- Providing feedback on the hospital's five-year strategic plan.
I feel it is worth my effort and time to drive to the hospital for a FAC meeting because I see the end result in everything — from the moment I first walk in the door with my daughter to the way the doctors work with us. It is all about putting family-centered care into action.”
An exciting addition to the role of Children’s Family Consultants has been inclusion in the hospital’s commitment to CPI, or Continuous Performance Improvement. Simply put, CPI is how the hospital is always looking to improve service and quality of care. Particular issues are identified (i.e., how surgeries are scheduled or how medicines are ordered at the time of discharge, etc.). Workgroups are created to look at the challenges and to problem-solve the solutions. The workgroups consist of a variety of staff (e.g., doctors, nurses, unit clerks, cafeteria staff, greeters, etc.). Parent consultants are becoming more and more involved in CPI processes, from participating in one-hour panels to week-long workshops.
“A transplant (for a child) is a very complex process with many steps involved. It was helpful to have the family feedback because we really had to stay focused on what the process is like for them.”
“As a parent of a child who frequently visits Seattle Children’s, I am thrilled to see how parent input is considered and subsequently implemented. It is really rewarding to see parents’ ideas put into practice in the daily activities of the hospital. From processes to building layout planning, the hospital has involved parents in the analysis and design of the future at Children’s.”
For more information about the Families as Consultants Program, contact Carol Parry, Family Centered Care Specialist, at 206-987-3880.