At Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital, patient- and family-centered care is a priority. By partnering closely with patients, families, and caregivers, the Kravis team recognizes the crucial role patient and family voices play in guiding health care.
Established in 2009, the Kravis Family Advisory Council is composed of parents, leaders, and interdisciplinary staff who work together on projects affecting the patient and family experience. Its counterpart, the Youth Advisory Council, was established in 2015 with a similar mission in mind: To provide a space for listening, learning, and shared decision-making among patient members, leaders, and staff. Youth members range in age from 13 to 20.
“I have seen the council grow from just an idea to having a direct, immense impact on how I am treated as a patient,” one youth advisor says. “Listening to the people you serve is incredibly important and can only lead to better relationships and more effective help. I would love it if both councils got more publicity, because I truly believe, if more people knew these existed, they couldn’t wait to share their input.”
Council members are chosen by a selection committee, which is looking for candidates who are reflective, insightful, communicative and cooperative with people whose backgrounds and experiences differ, and good listeners. The councils meet monthly in the evening; members are asked to commit to seven out of ten meetings, September through June. Council members receive an orientation on the mission and values of Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital and the principles of family-centered care. Child Life Coordinators provide ongoing training, support, and administrative oversight.
Integrating patients and families into the hospital setting yields tremendous benefit for hospital quality and safety initiatives, says Morgan Stojanowski, Director, Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department at Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital. For example, the hospital includes a parent advisor in a clinical committee on managing pain.
“Having a parent advisor embedded in the pain committee has been really beneficial to create an action plan to help better the care we are delivering,” Ms. Stojanowski says. “Parents bring their own experience to the discussion so staff can incorporate it into their practice.”
In 2022, Kravis led the way in bringing patient and family engagement to Children’s Hospital Solutions for Patient Safety, a network of 145 children’s hospitals committed to enhancing the delivery of safe pediatric care. As the leader of the New York regional effort, the Kravis team facilitates monthly meetings that provide a forum for organizations that are integrating patients and families into quality and safety efforts.
"Everyone did an amazing job. They came in and informed my husband and I of everything that was going to take place for the shift. They all made sure that my child was involved in every conversation so that he would not be worried."
– Parent at Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital