Family Engagement Research & Reports
September 14, 2015

Creating and Sustaining Effective Hospital Family Advisory Councils

By: Karen I. Wayman, PhD, Director of Family-Centered Care, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford

In 1987, U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop first called for the nation's health care system to transition from system-centered to family-centered care. The concept of family-centered care has achieved significant gains since then, and now is considered a core element of quality health care. When families partner with their children's health care providers, the quality of care improves and parents' fears and anxieties are reduced. This is especially important when the health of children with chronic, complex conditions depends on hospital care.

Creating effective Family Advisory Councils (FACs) in children’s hospitals is one proven approach to ensuring that families have a strong voice regarding how health care is delivered to their children. To promote FACs, the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health provided grant funding for the formation of the California Patient & Family Centered Care Network, a statewide collaborative composed of parents and providers representing 15 pediatric hospitals and clinics. Network members shared their experiences with FACs and developed a checklist for establishing effective Councils.