Building Blocks for Successful Patient and Family Advisory Boards: Collaboration, Communication, and Commitment

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Abstract

The mission of our hospital states: “Patients and their families are treated with compassion in a family-centered care environment that recognizes their physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual needs.” Family-centered care is an approach to health care that shapes policies, programs, facility design, and day-to-day interactions among patients and their families, physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals. Health care professionals across all disciplines and in all care environments have the opportunity to advance the practice of patient- and family-centered care. They do so by welcoming patients and their families as partners in care—acknowledging patient and family expertise and strengths, encouraging their input, and acknowledging the value of their observations and perceptions. There is a growing recognition of the importance of patient and family care experiences as a key part of quality care. Through this partnership, patients and their families are viewed as valuable sources of information that can impact the quality of the care they receive. Their perspective on the care they receive can be used to shape effective solutions and target practice improvements in the care delivery experience. As an organization, we have been focused on implementing patient- and family-centered care for many years. We are unique in that we have parents of patients on the hospital staff and regularly seek their input, along with that of our Family Advisory Boards (English and Spanish speaking) and Teen Advisory Board. You have to ask yourself the question, “Are you ready to incorporate patient- and family-centered care into your practice?”

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