When Your Child Visits the Hospital...Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital's Family Advisory Council Offers 10 Tips for Parents

Tips Born from Council's Unique "Family Rounds" Program That Educates Families and Incorporates Their Perspectives on Patient Care

Aug 22, 2007


Taking your child to the hospital can be a confusing and emotionally taxing experience. To help parents better know what to expect and how to cope, Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian created the Family Advisory Council, comprised of family members of current and former patients and staff at the Hospital who work together to help families get all the information they need so they can care for their children with confidence. In this spirit, the Family Advisory Council offers 10 useful tips.

The new tips result from the Council's unique "family rounds" program, in which its members join doctors as they make hospital rounds in order to better understand and give their family-centric perspective on patient care.

"Parents are an integral part of their child's health-care team, even in the hospital," says Karen Bergan, parent leader and chair of the Family Advisory Council at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital. "You know your child best. Listen to them and trust your instincts. When meeting with your doctor, communicate your thoughts, and don't forget to ask lots of questions."

  1. Take notes and include names and contact numbers for your child's medical team.
  2. Store nurse's station phone number in your wallet, and call anytime for updates on your child.
  3. Give the nurses your contact information so you can be reached anytime.
  4. Ask your medical team about the care plan for the day and write it down.
  5. Always repeat information back to the doctor or nurse to confirm your understanding.
  6. Write down any questions as you think of them–even in the middle of the night.
  7. Refer to your notebook when talking with doctors.
  8. Ask for as many explanations of a diagnosis, "labs" or test results as needed until you understand the information.
  9. Note any changes in your child's appetite, energy level, mood, pain levels, or other areas you observe, and share this information with the healthcare team.
  10. If you think you child is in pain, contact the nurse immediately.

"Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital welcomes and encourages the active involvement of parents and families in their child's care," says Andrea M. Colon, R.N., vice president of patient care services for children's health at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital. "We are grateful to the Family Advisory Council for helping disseminate this important information."

One of the most active programs of its kind, the Family Advisory Council of Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, begun in 2005, has more than 30 members representing families. Committed to improving the patient and family experience at the Hospital, Council members lead projects and participate in wide range of activities, including initiatives on leadership, quality and patient safety.

Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian

Ranked by U.S.News & World Report as one of the top six children's hospitals in the country, Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian offers the best available care in every area of pediatrics – including the most complex neonatal and critical care, and all areas of pediatric subspecialties – in a family-friendly and technologically advanced setting. Building a reputation for more than a century as one of the nation's premier children's hospitals, Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian is affiliated with Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and is New York City's only hospital dedicated solely to the care of children and the largest provider of children's health services in the tri-state area with a long-standing commitment to its community. Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian is also a major international referral center, meeting the special needs of children from infancy through adolescence worldwide.

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Belinda Mager 212-305-5587