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Involving parents and patients in hospital rounds 4 tips to get the most out of family-centered rounds

Family-centered rounds include the active participation of the patient and family during bedside discussions among clinicians.

Family-centered rounds include the active participation of the patient and family during bedside discussions among clinicians.

When your child gets admitted to the hospital, don’t be surprised when a large group of people taps at your door for a visit each morning.

Akron Children’s, like many other children’s hospitals, considers parents to be vital members of the hospital care team and uses a process called family-centered rounds to improve communication, patient care and teaching. 

During these family-centered rounds, a team from the hospital will hear about your child’s progress and discuss the daily medical plan with you. The hospital team includes an attending physician (the doctor in charge of your child’s care) and others, who will also help care for your child. 

You may see medical students who are learning about pediatric medicine, interns and residents who are training to be pediatricians, the nurses caring for your child, as well as other providers such as respiratory therapists or discharge planners. 

This kind of rounding improves communication among all involved in your child’s care, and allows you to share in the decision-making. It also ensures that as a concerned family member, you’re up to speed on your child’s progress, test results and future plans.  

During rounds, generally one of the doctors-in-training will discuss the story behind your child’s illness or injury, and may make suggestions for your child’s care plan. The attending physician, however, will ultimately make the decision, and together, the team will create a care plan.

Remember, you’re an important part of this team and we appreciate your input since you know your child best.  You can help us understand how your child normally acts when well, what drinks and foods he may like, how best to get him to take medications, and any other unique information that may help improve our care.

While participating in family-centered rounds may be intimidating at first, we welcome your questions and input. We’re there to make sure you understand the care being recommended for your child and what to expect during the day. 

Here are 4 tips to help you get the most out of family-centered rounds:

  • Ask your nurse what time rounds generally occur so you’re prepared.
  • Be awake and alert for rounds.
  • Ask questions when you don’t understand something. Since it’s easy to forget questions, write them down as you think about them and use those notes in rounds.
  • Consider yourself part of the team, not part of the audience.

Although family-centered rounds generally occur in the morning, team members will continue to check on your child throughout the day and night as needed.

And if you can’t make it to morning rounds, feel free to use the white board in your child’s room to ask questions or share information. Just let your child’s nurse know so she may communicate that to the rounding team.

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About Dr. Doug Moses - Pediatric Hospitalist

Dr. Doug Moses is a board-certified pediatrician who specializes in the care of hospitalized children. In addition to being a pediatric hospitalist, he's also the director of continuing medical education and associate director of the pediatric residency training program at Akron Children's Hospital. He has 3 children and enjoys spending his free time with his family.

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