Family Care Conference

Families are an important part of a child’s care team. Communication between family members and the care team treating your child is key for your child’s ongoing care. Because of the pace of life in the hospital, it may be difficult to schedule time with all care team members in one place.

A family care conference is a specific, scheduled meeting with all care team members in the same place. A family care conference includes the patient (your child), parent(s) or guardian(s), and the entire care team.

Reasons for a Family Care Conference

A family care conference may be called if:

  • A child is in the hospital for more than one week (seven days)
  • A parent or guardian requests one
  • A health care provider requests one
  • A family has complex needs that may affect the child’s care
  • A major change in the diagnosis or care plan develops
  • The care team doesn’t agree on follow-up plans for outpatient care
  • There are complex follow-up plans following a child leaving the hospital
  • You have serious concerns about the child’s care that you feel have not been discussed
  • A child is re-admitted to the hospital soon after going home

Family Care Conference Team Members

The family care conference team may include the following health providers:

  • Physicians
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Nurses
  • Patient navigator
  • Social worker
  • Your clergyperson/faith leader or hospital chaplain (at your request)

Family Care Conference Goals

Whether the conference is called by a provider or a family member, the goals are to:

  • Answer all questions and concerns
  • Make sure the family and entire care team has the same information to make informed decisions
  • Identify decisions to be made to create a care plan
  • Create a care plan together

What to Expect During a Family Care Conference

  • Each care team member introduces themselves. A facilitator will lead the discussion, as well as review and clarify any questions, goals or outcomes.
  • The attending physician will talk with you about the current situation, what the team believes happened and what they expect moving forward. Other care team members will report out as necessary.
  • The care team will discuss possible treatments and/or procedures. This discussion will include what the care team expects to happen as well as potential risks. The care team will list all potential decisions that need to be made regarding care.
  • The facilitator will make sure all questions are answered or have a plan in place to get the questions answered.
  • Parents/guardians will have the chance to talk about what to expect as well as how to plan for the future.
  • Everyone will have the chance to speak, including the child, if he or she is able to.
  • If the child is unable to speak, the care team and family will discuss what the child would want in this scenario.
  • The meeting will be recorded by notes. The notes become a part of your child’s medical record, and you will get a copy.

How to Request a Family Care Conference

Ask any member of your child’s care team that you would like a family care conference. The care team member will talk to the attending physician to schedule the conference. A time will be chosen that is most convenient for all parties to be present. A child’s health care team also will assess and call a family care conference if needed. However, you can ask for a care conference any time you feel the entire team should meet to discuss your child’s care.

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