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.


Jim Conway said...

Congratulations to you and the team for the wonderful journey you are on, this important data, and these results. I'm off in a week to Scotland and England where dicussions will include the power of person, patient and family centered care. Your post today has just added a slide to my powerpoint deck, with appropriate citation. Keep the learning and these results coming not only for your own patients, families and staff but also to help others around the world draw courage.

Jim Conway, IHI

Deb Wachenheim, Health Quality Manager, Health Care For All said...

Hospitals across Massachusetts are now in the process of establishing Patient and Family Advisory Councils. Massachusetts is the first state in the nation to require all hospitals to create these important vehicles for bringing patient and family voices to their work. Hospitals just starting out can learn a lot from those that have been doing this for a while, so many thanks to BIDMC and other institutions for sharing what they have learned so that all hospitals can be successful in this endeavor. Health Care For All and our Consumer Health Quality Council advocated for the legislation requiring hospitals to establish Advisory Councils because of the powerful examples of their impact such as those mentioned in Mr. Levy's blog.

Jopyxis said...

Bravo again----and again to BIDMC! Any hospital or group needing help in creating a patient and family advisory committee should take advantage of the FREE downloadable materials on the Institute for Family-Centered Care web site. I recommend "How to Get Started with Patient-and Family-Centered Care." Thank you for your transparency and your commitment to patient-and family-centered care.
Joanna Kaufman, RN, MS
Institute for family-Centered Care

Ken Farbstein said...

I'm always happy to see evidence of improvement - Bravo! What were the specific initiatives that family advisors on the PFAC suggested and shaped? We should publicize them so other hospitals will consider them.