Strategies to Enhance Family-Centered Care in Primary Care Practices

For Your Families and Children with Special Needs

Help families prepare for their visit with you and for after the visit

  • Scheduling adequate time for the visit and at a time when the child will be at his/her best
  • Determine if there are special issues that require limited time in the waiting room/immediate access to examination room
  • Encourage writing questions for the visit down and prioritizing the top issues
    Bright Futures Encounter forms may be useful.  (Previews for Primary Care and for Families)
  • Write down information and instructions for the family to take with them after the visit

Provide families with information about signs and symptoms which require immediate attention;
make sure they have a plan to connect with health care services 24 hours a day, 52 weeks a year.

Examine your practice for ease of accessibility for patients with disabilities
See Universal Design information

Give the child a method to communicate preferences and health care choices
See Transition Top Ten Tips by Patti Hackett

Provide parents with tools to organize health information, optimize a medical office visit, and optimize communication with other providers in the community

Anticipate and prepare for transitions in health care, especially adolescent to adult

Create linkages to connect families with local resources and with other families .

Link families to information about their child’s condition

For Your Practice

Use Medical Home Tools to guide office practices and visit format for families of CSHCN

  • Medical Home Family Index
  • Family Needs Assessment
  • Culturally Effective care assessment

Obtain feedback (positive and negative, suggestions for change) about the practice from families

  • Feedback questionnaires
  • Focus groups
  • Parent Advisory group (see below)
  • Parent participation in Quality Improvement team

Connect and follow-up with consultants, sub-specialists, and other community providers involved in the care of the child.

  • Obtain feedback from the family about services received from the consultants and community providers.

Consider an Electronic Medical Record – as the formatting for Pediatric populations improves, the EMR has the potential to streamline record-keeping, care plan development, medication management, determination of patient problem prevalence for practice management and billing, and accessibility of the medical record between offices.

  • Some EMRs have ability to make referrals electronically (Pointshare system) by automatically faxing information to the provider. (‘Families don’t call and say, ‘The specialist didn’t get your referral,’ any more!)
  • Meditech computer system in the Spokane hospitals allows electronic access to patient record from hospital visits – e.g. if they were in the ER the night before you can access that information.
  • Ability to sign medical record electronically is labor-saving!

Consider ways to provide case management/care coordination services in your practice setting.
Practices that do a better job in care coordination have: 1) Electronic Medical Records, and 2) Care coordination personnel on staff

Interesting Reading