Who’s in charge? Family-centered care and reform

Are our politicians ignoring moms in the health care debate? According to a new survey from the blog “Why Moms Rule,” women at least feel that way.

Women are responsible for most health care decisions (92 percent of their own; 65 percent of their children’s decisions and 59 percent of their spouse’s or partner’s) and their opinions do matter.

That’s one of the reasons we’re so focused on “family-centered care.” It’s not just a buzz word and we’re not involving moms (and dads and grandparents and siblings — you know, “it takes a village”) just for the sake of the warm and fuzzies.

When parents are involved, care is safer. Care is more effective. Kids get better faster. They can get back to school. Parents can get back to work. When the Institute of Medicine released its groundbreaking report, Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century, in 2001, patient-centered care was one of the aims it set out to improve health care. We’ve embraced that aim.

At the heart of family-centered care is the belief that health care providers, patients, and their families are partners, working together to best meet the needs of the child.

Parents and family members provide a child’s primary strength and support. Their information and insights can enhance the professional staff’s technical skill, improve care, and help us design better programs and friendlier systems.

At the core of our work in family-centered care are four concepts: dignity and respect, information sharing, participation and collaboration. Our Family Advisory Board helps us accomplish that.

Families, children and, yes, moms are essential ingredients in the health care puzzle. All need to be included in the reform solution one way or another.

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