Family engagement is a genuine partnership between professionals and family leaders who represent many different communities and who work together to develop and implement better policies and practices. A family-centered approach to health care includes working with families as equal partners in their child’s care.
The Medical Home Initiative works closely with the family-led organizations of Family Voices, Parent to Parent and other partners to build the capacity of family members to be equal partners in their child’s care and with health care teams. Family engagement and family-centered care improve outcomes for patients and families, increases family and clinician satisfaction, decreases health care costs, and improves effective use of health care resources.
Family engagement has many meanings. In a clinic or hospital, family members may be participating in:
- Health care surveys or suggestion boxes
- Focus groups or interviews
- Development of their child’s care plan
- Advisory boards or councils
- Quality improvement initiative work groups
Families want to be sure that their child’s needs are met. Having both family members and health care providers work together as equal partners improves care for children with special health care needs. Family engagement is being an active and valued partner. Family perspective is valuable!
“My son’s doctor, nurse and I are a team. They listen carefully to me when I talk about him, and I try to follow their suggestions. We have different roles, but we respect each other. My son’s medical care is better because of this partnership.” – Wisconsin Parent