Family-Centred Care at SickKids and reinventing the Family Advisory Committee

Back in February, I came across this wonderful description of family centred care that is both rooted in specifics and suggestive of values to guide us in this journey.

“Family-centred paediatric care is an ideal, an attainable goal, an approach to organizing care, and a set of specific practices. At its root it recognizes the child-patient as first of all, and at all times, a member of a particular family. It therefore regards the family’s involvement in planning, providing, and evaluating the child’s care as not only desirable but necessary. Real family centred care values and accommodates the family’s love and its expertise. In the end, it allows the child, wherever he or she may be, to be always at home.”

So much is packed into these sentences to guide the devising of specific practises. The last two sentences both soars with humanity and evokes a deep intimacy: how the parental "love and it's expertise" play out in a new, scary and complicated setting where parents may be inexpert at medicine but know their children best; and that deep wish, felt by every parent who has sat at a child's hospital bedside, "to be always at home", hopefully to go home or, when that is not yet possible, to bring home ideals to the hospital: love, togetherness, safety, peace, growth.

I met Frank at IPP education day. He is thoughtful and supportive and has taken it on himself to learn as much as he can about how hospitals are implimenting advisory family advisory councils as a resource for SickKids.

Which leads to the most exciting news of all. The SickKids family advisory committee is in the process of dissolving itself. Its own work and analysis lead it to conclude that the hospital needs a more integrated involvement of parents and so the council and the hospital are in the process of completely reshaping parental involvement in the hospital.

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