Families as Partners
At Le Bonheur, we’re reaching out to families. We ask them to be our partners – partners in
caring for their children, partners in making policies and guiding practices and most importantly, in creating a safe environment. Partnering with our families is one of the most important things we do.
We may know everything about your child’s medical condition, but you know everything about your child.
Parents and other family members are natural advocates for their children. You understand your child’s needs in ways that go deeper than medicine. Simply put, you know what’s best for your child.
We practice family-centered care. What does that mean?
When you speak, we listen. Your values and beliefs matter, and you will always be consulted in your child’s care – even on the “little” things, like your child’s favorite foods.
We share complete, unbiased information. An effective team has to communicate openly, and we ensure a two-way conversation.
We solicit the help of families to make our hospital better. Through the Family Partners Council, our patients and families help us make hospital policies, design our facilities and train our staff.
Family Partners Council
The Family Partners Council, founded in 2009, is a group of Le Bonheur patient families who work to improve processes within the hospital. They work directly with staff and physicians to encourage partnerships with families. Their focus areas include:
- Advocacy and Public Policy: To recruit, educate and engage families on child health issues.
- Patient and Family Experience: To ensure families’ emotional, spiritual physical and educational needs are supported.
- Quality Improvement: To empower families to partner with caregivers to improve the quality of care and patient safety.
- Staff Education: To assist staff in learning the principles, skills and attitudes of patient- and family-centered.
Major Accomplishments of the Council
- Parents can now be with their child until the start of surgery.
- Established parent support groups. The Mom’s Support Group is led by Chaplain Elizabeth Hawkins and four Le Bonheur mothers. The Dad’s Support Group is led by Chaplain Jack Conrad and five Le Bonheur fathers.
- Seasoned Le Bonheur families now visit with parents experiencing similar diagnoses or circumstances through the Parent Mentor program.
- Family members advise Le Bonheur staff on improving family partnerships through the Family Faculty program.
- Started a weekly Congenital Heart Disease Playgroup for families of Le Bonheur’s Heart Institute.
- Parents provide input on all printed patient communication to ensure that it is helpful to families.
- Families helped design our patient rooms to make stays more comfortable.
- Members of the Council have presented best practice family-centered care initiatives on the national level through the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care.
- Le Bonheur families advocate for children’s health care issues at the local, state and federal government levels. They have successfully influenced:
- the importance of access to high quality health care for all children
- the passage of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) bill
- the Affordable Care Act including the elimination of lifetime insurance limits and denials of coverage for children will pre-existing conditions
- Le Bonheur Family Partners Council member Jessica Huntley was honored at the Methodist Quarterly Business Review with the 2014 Kevin E. Montgomery FPC Award. The award is presented annually to a Family Partners Council member who has gone above and beyond the volunteer role.
- The FPC Advocacy and Public Policy Committee met with representatives from the Children’s Hospital Association to provide input on a new version of the Speak Now For Kids website – a site designed as a forum for families to share their stories with lawmakers.
- The FPC Advocacy and Public Policy Committee advocated for a new state law passed in the spring of 2013 requiring schools to adopt guidelines to educate coaches, athletes and families about the symptoms and dangers of concussions.
- In 2013, Le Bonheur participated in a national field test for the pediatric version of the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems. The FPC Quality Committee reviewed results of the patient experience survey and provided valuable feedback on how Le Bonheur can improve patient and family experiences.
The Family Partners Council’s Annual Report provides more information on the yearly accomplishments of the council.