Friday, November 06, 2009
Working with a family advisory council
The concept of patient and family advisory boards to hospitals is gaining currency. The idea is to integrate the perspective of patients and families into decisions about clinical practices, space, priorities, and the like. We have had a Family Advisory Board for our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for some time. Here is its mission statement:
The mission of the BIDMC NICU Advisory Board is to touch the lives of each NICU family in a positive and lasting way. Our goal is to complement the NICU's outstanding clinical care and embrace the hospital's commitment to Family-Centered Care with programs and initiatives that acknowledge and support the family in a time of crisis, and to extend the relationship between the family and hospital well beyond discharge. The NICU Advisory Board will support this mission through representative feedback on existing and future programs, facility and policy enhancement, staff/family relations, development and fundraising, and other issues related to the needs of NICU families.
If you are going to create an advisory body like this, you need to share key information with them. I am showing here a few slides of a presentation delivered yesterday by Dr. DeWayne Pursley, chief of service. Among other things, the presentations contained a full exposition of progress on the metrics by which the NICU judges its success with regard to family interactions, along with a statement of initiatives in the various dimensions of care. This kind of transparency leads to a greater sense of involvement, and it also prompts discussions that often lead to good ideas.
In a post below, I wrote about some recent success in our adult ICUs. That success was dependent on involvement by a similar patient and family advisory council. Our experience with the NICU council helped us design the adult council, but it also gave the medical staff some confidence that the effort involved in creating and meeting with the council would be worth the effort. Clinicians and hospital administrators are often skeptical on this point. Let's hope that such skepticism gradually erodes as the good work of these councils becomes more widely known.
Posted by Paul Levy at 11/06/2009 04:41:00 AM