UMass Memorial Children's Medical Center recognizes that parents and family members are a child's primary source of support. The insight and information family members provide enhance our professional staff's knowledge and expertise - helping us improve the care we provide.
In order to enhance our family-centered care philosophy, we developed a Family Advisory Committee (FAC), a team made up of parents and consumers of the medical services provided at the Children's Medical Center, to help us design more effective programs and friendlier systems.
What is the Family Advisory Committee?
The Children's Medical Center FAC is comprised of committed families and professionals whose main focus is to promote family-centered care. At the heart of family-centered care is the belief that health care providers and family members are partners, working together to best meet the needs of the child. The FAC empowers families and gives them a voice in the decisions that affect patient care and family experiences.
What is the committee's purpose?
The FAC's primary purpose is to serve in an advisory role to the Children's Medical Center administration, staff and Advisory Council, sharing insights and recommendations from family members' perspectives. Some members may serve on other hospital committees lending their insight and energy to various team projects. This partnership provides valuable patient/family input and support during planning phases and when implementing changes. Families have an important role in guiding our work, the hospital's priorities and planning.
What are the committee's goals?
The main goal is to constantly improve understanding and communication between hospital staff and the families they serve. Our hope in improving this communication is that we will recognize and maintain best practices, initiate positive change when needed and meet the challenges facing health care today. Some of our other goals are to:
- Actively help implement approved changes at the Children's Medical Center
- Bring the needs of the community to the attention of Medical Center staff
- Promote a better understanding of hospital policies and services
- Provide a "forum" where parents and other family members can express their thoughts and opinions
- Serve as a contact for groups and committees within the hospital that are trying to make a positive difference in the care they provide to children and families
What are the steps to becoming a member of the committee?
The FAC is always looking for new members. A selection committee that includes parents and staff affiliated with the Children's Medical Center reviews all applications. Because we try to maintain a membership that reflects the diverse population we serve, we may not be able to accommodate all that are interested and may ask prospective candidates to apply at another time. Parents or relatives whose children have received care at the hospital or one of the outpatient clinics in the past year are eligible for membership. To learn more about the FAC, contact Robert Wing, director of Child Life Services and FAC staff liaison, 774-443-2549.
What are some of the characteristics the selection committee looks for in new candidates?
Candidates should be:
- Confident in his/her views, but also can see other points of view
- Reflective and insightful
- Able to communicate and cooperate with people whose backgrounds, experiences and styles may be different
- Able to fulfill the time commitment and work toward achieving FAC initiatives
- Positive about the Children's Medical Center and enthusiastic about its mission of excellence in patient care, education and research
What kind of training and support do members get?
Committee members receive an orientation in a number of areas. Orientation includes introduction to the mission and values of the Children's Medical Center and the principles of family-centered care. In practical terms, family members receive reimbursement for parking in the visitor's garage, as well as a light dinner at meetings. The training, support and administrative oversight of this program will come through the Department of Pediatrics and Child Life Program.
What is the time commitment?
The committee meets nine times a year. Each committee member commits to at least a one-year membership. In addition, members may be asked to serve on workgroups or be involved in other projects. These groups may meet intensely for a few weeks, monthly or only once, depending on the goal of the group. FAC members may also be asked to participate in activities, such as Grand Rounds (medical staff teaching conferences) and family coffee/social hours acting as representatives or hosts.