At Akron Children’s, we really care about what our parents think. That’s why we invite them to help design our new buildings and spaces, review patient care information sheets, serve on various hospital committees, and serve in other important aspects of pediatric care.
These parent volunteers are part of our Parent Advisory Council (PAC), which Joyce Swords started in 1995 after spending considerable time at Akron Children’s with her child who was being treated for cancer.
The PAC is made up of up to 15 parent volunteers who meet monthly at the hospital. A separate PAC formed at our Beeghly campus in Boardman in 2012. Both councils are actively seeking new members.
“I’ve seen real change since I joined PAC 3 years ago,” said Beth Tenda, president of the Akron campus PAC and mother of 4. “As a parent we know our children best, and if the administration wants to hear our feedback and ideas to improve the hospital then who wouldn’t want that experience for their child?”
In a separate, but related program, other parent volunteers are used for mentoring families with similar diagnoses. As advisors, they provide input by sitting on committees within the hospital or providing input online through group emails.
As examples of issues PAC has impacted, Parent Advisor coordinator Judy Doyle said the hospital has sought their input for aspects related to the new Kay Jewelers Pavilion being constructed on the Akron campus, as well as Children’s new outpatient office in Warren.
Another example of PAC involvement is in the hospital’s simulation center. There, PAC members can play the role of parents during staff simulation training exercises.
“If you’re at the hospital a lot, and you’re a parent who’d like to see changes or generally have a lot of input, you’d be a good participant,” Tenda said. “The PAC allows you to voice your opinions and get it to the right place. It’s a unique and rewarding experience working directly with providers and administration in this manner.”
Joining PAC or becoming a parent mentor/advisor involves an application process. If your child has recently been treated at Akron Children’s, you’re eligible for selection.
The PAC strives to maintain diversity among its members, both in terms of patient diagnosis and by the demographics served by the hospital.