Family Advisory Council Making A Difference

The Family Advisory Council at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital is devoted to helping the patient and family experience.

Family Advisory Council
Published in Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital - Fall 2019

When 7-year-old Gavin’s mom, Christina Shreeve, showed up for her first Family Advisory Council meeting early last year, she wasn’t sure what to expect.

What she found was gratifying.

It was a place where family members of patients could share their experiences, and where they could collaborate openly with each other and with hospital leadership. The goal — to help make the patient and family experience at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital as good as it could possibly be.

Christina has much to share. … Her son has been battling a host of complex auto-immune-related ailments since he was a toddler. His challenges would necessitate visits to a range of specialists and more recently, regular IV treatments. If Christina hadn’t toted her son to every specialty in existence over the years, she certainly felt as if she had.

Experience had already taught her that Johns Hopkins All Children’s was her hospital of choice.

“A million times over,” she says.

Still, she finds room for improvement and is excited to play a role.

The council provides an opportunity to give feedback on every aspect of care — from hospital stays to clinic appointments to lab testing to billing.

“It’s great to know that I’m helping to bring about change that not only helps my family, but all families,” Christina says.

“We really found our stride, and we’ve had a great year,” says outgoing FAC Chair Charles Gallagher.

Among the many things the council accomplished this year was the initiation of a new program called Ask A Parent, which enables hospital staff to seek and receive feedback from patients’ families about hospital processes.

They also began the tradition of FAC Snacks, small social events where treats such as ice cream or popcorn are served to hundreds of families coming and going for appointments — designed to raise awareness about the Family Advisory Council, and just to bring a smile and a connection during an otherwise stressful time.

Among the most impactful things the Family Advisory Council has done is to participate in regular break-out sessions with institute and department leaders. Parents could share their experiences openly, ask questions, and offer opinions on how to make improvements.

“They really valued our input and worked to make changes,” Gallagher says. “You were able to see doctors and staff you wouldn’t normally get to see in that capacity. That’s probably atypical of a large hospital setting.”

“This is how good things get done,” says Joel Roach, service excellence manager.

“These parents help us to not be complacent, but to continually make progress and to keep asking, ‘OK, how can we make things better?”

Join Family Advisory Council or Teen Advisory Council

The Family Advisory Council and Teen Advisory Council are currently looking for family members interested in serving. Find out more about this volunteer opportunity, and fill out an application.