Accomplishments

Since its founding in 1980, the Family Advisory Council has had many successes within the Drive/Lead, Partner/Support and Advise/Share framework. Here are some of our notable recent accomplishments:

Education and Training

Family Advisors are raising leadership and staff awareness about what it is like to in our shoes as patient families here at Boston Children’s. They share stories and perspectives in venues such as New Hire Orientation, Service Excellence, House Staff Orientation (for residents and fellows), department specific meetings, etc. Through these opportunities, our Family Advisors help to foster connections between each member of Boston Children’s staff and our patients and families and let them know that each one of them can impact the patients and families who need Boston Children’s, regardless of their individual roles.

Partnership with Boston Children’s Hospital Leadership and Staff

The Family Advisory Council (FAC) launched its own recognition program in 2017: The FAC Seal of Approval. The purpose of the Family Advisory Council’s Seal is to identify, acknowledge, and show support for materials, projects and strategic initiatives that improve an aspect(s) of the patient/family experience at Boston Children’s Hospital and have woven patient/family member voices into the process. The FAC awards the Seal, on a semi-annual basis, to work that embodies patient- and family-centered care principles and that clearly benefits patients and families.

In the fall of 2016 the FAC underwent formal strategic planning efforts to identify three key initiatives that would not only engage all members of the council but also keep the council focused on, and accountable to, agreed upon goals. The three strategic initiatives that were adopted are: Operational Excellence, Optimizing Partnerships, and Define and Measure the Optimal Care Experience. Commitment to these strategic initiatives not only drives forward momentum for the council, it also aligns our efforts with the hospital’s own strategic goals, creating opportunities for partnerships with both staff and leadership across the organization.

Safety

In 2015 Boston Children’s embarked on a cultural initiative towards becoming a “High Reliability Organization. The goal of this work is to achieve zero preventable harm to any patient, family or Boston Children’s staff member. Three key safety behaviors: Speaking Up for Safety, Communicating Clearly and Paying Attention to Detail, are critical to the success of this initiative. Three Family Advisors serve as representatives on the core team with senior leadership. In addition, multiple family advisors have worked on individual projects associated with the High Reliability work. Most recently, in 2018, Family Advisors helped to create a Patient Family Safety Resource that explains the hospital’s commitment to High Reliability and the roles that patients and families play, as experts on their child/themselves and partners to members of the care team, in achieving an “optimal care experience” for each patient.

After a successful partnership with the High Reliability team, families have continued to be welcomed into groups and committees dedicated to patient, family and staff safety here at Boston Children’s. As of January 2019, approximately 20 different safety committees have identified Family Advisors as partners.

Patient Experience

Family Advisors have worked closely with Boston Children’s ACCESS Program to set standards surrounding patient and family access to hospital services, from the first phone call to the discharge home and follow-up care. Family Advisors work with the ACCESS team to shape the delivery of this care and lead projects designed to provide a consistent and reliable experience for all patients and families.

Family Advisors share the work that the FAC is engaged in here at Boston Children’s through speaking engagements at conferences, local, national and international.

Research

Family Advisors engage with researchers on individual projects and serve as advisors on the Harvard-Wide Pediatric Health Services Research Fellowship Program, a partnership that has been in existence since 2014.

Family Advisors also provide the family perspective on research-related team projects on an as-needed basis, which span a spectrum of topics.

Technology and Innovation

The Family Advisory Council created the Virtual Advisors Forum in August of 2015, and it has become the hospital’s most diverse pool of family voices. The Virtual Advisors Forum enables local, regional, national and international families to participate in work that is both timely and relevant to Boston Children’s regardless of their physical location, or personal/work schedules.

The Family Advisory Council has a working relationship with Boston Children’s Innovation and Digital Health Teams. Family Advisors join discussions on how to adapt technologies and information systems to serve the needs of patients, families and clinicians.