Family-centered rounds at Children’s

>Family-centered rounds in the hospital. What exactly does that mean? It’s part of a movement in American hospitals to involve the patient and family in all aspects of the patient’s care, including the discussions among physicians and other medical personnel.

The essence of the idea is that by partnering with patients and families and involving them in decisions about their care, hospitals can deliver better quality of care for all patients and achieve better patient outcomes.

At Children’s Medical Center, family-centered rounds involve a dedicated team of physicians and other healthcare personnel who visit the child’s hospital room every day. The team ensures family participation in discussions on the child’s care. Reason for admission to the hospital, current condition of the child, plans for the day, and discharge expectations are clearly communicated on a daily basis on these rounds.

Raegan’s case
Stefanie Davis, mother of 2-½-year-old patient Raegan Davis from Ennis, Texas, has first-hand experience with family-centered rounds at Children’s. Raegan underwent treatment for osteomyelitis, an infection of the bone. Stefanie and her husband, William Davis, participated in the daily rounds with the medical team to develop plans to manage Raegan’s medical condition. They received daily updates from the team and had their questions answered by the medical team. “We were very well informed along the way,” Davis says.

Piloting the concept
Dr. Vineeta Mittal, a pediatrician and assistant professor of Pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has been in the forefront of family-centered rounds at Children’s. Piloting the effort among the hospital’s general pediatric floors, she says, “Families feel involved and appreciate being a part of the medical team. They understand why their child is admitted and what the discharge goals are.” Additionally, she says, “We may be the experts in medicine but families are the experts on their child. We want to partner and work with them to manage their child’s condition.”

Dr. Mittal has authored a study on family-centered rounding this month in the journal Pediatrics.

Watch a video of Dr. Mittal and Davis explaining family-centered rounds:

The practice of family-centered rounds is just one part of our mission to make life better for children, in this case by involving the family in their child’s care at the most basic level of communication. It is also a great learning tool for medical students, interns, and residents on the medical rounding team as they learn to communicate directly with the family under the watchful eye of an attending physician.

Dr. Mittal acknowledges that the concept of involving families so intimately in their child’s care can be a little intimidating. “Large team size can be a little overwhelming for some families at first, but families appreciate being involved in medical decision-making and are more comfortable expressing their concerns on rounds,” she says.

Linda Hensel, RN, BSN, a bedside and charge nurse who often participates in family-centered rounds, says of the practice: “I think it puts everyone on the same page, reinforcing and supporting the care the child is receiving.”

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