Case Studies

Patient- and Family-Centered Rounds at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital


Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital
Grand Rapids, MI
212 Beds

Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital examined its patient rounding process and decided it needed to become more family-centered.

The Problem
Hospital leaders wanted the multidisciplinary team to engage the family and patient to involve them in the decision-making process and help them participate in clinical readiness for discharge.

The Solution
The hospital revised its procedure for rounding to include the patient and family as active participants in the day’s care plan. The family became the center of the rounding process and the team prepares families for rounding. The team utilizes families’ input, values the information they provide and asks them to actively participate in making the care plan. The staff advises families in advance about the size of the care team that will be rounding, describes what to expect and encourages them to ask questions and voice concerns. When families miss rounding, the care team attempts to return later in the day to keep the family engaged.

The Result
Patient and family rounds help empower families to have a trusting relationship with the health care team, increase their understanding of the care plan and create a safer culture for patient, family and staff. Since implementing family-centered rounds, nursing units have raised their patient satisfaction scores from below the 50th percentile to greater than the 90th percentile on a consistent basis. Although family-centered rounds may not be the only reason for these higher scores, families have responded positively about their involvement in rounds and feel better prepared for discharge.

Lessons Learned
It is important for staff to remember that the patient’s family knows the patient best and the team must have an open mind when making care plan. Families are very willing to tell the team that something is not the best choice, particularly in cases involving children with complex medical needs. Utilizing what the patient and family have to say and putting them at the forefront of decision making are paramount. Changing the rounding process was a new experience for the hospital’s health care team. In the past, rounds were medically driven and included a lot of medical terminology that patients and families did not understand.

The team no longer uses medical jargon during rounds but instead tries to talk in a way that patients can understand. Medical education now occurs outside of the patient’s room. This has been a culture shift for the team as well as the patients and families involved.

Contact Information
Tom Peterson, MD
(616) 391-7848

This case study was originally featured in the HPOE guide: "Engaging Health Care Users: A Framework for Healthy Individuals and Communities," published January, 2013.

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