Children’s Minnesota values input from patient families. Getting involved in the Families as Partners program is a great way for patient families to share their insight to make the Children’s care experience better. Families as Partners offers a wide range of opportunities for involvement, including sharing your Children’s story, educating staff, providing peer-support, and advocating for pediatric policy issues. If your child is currently a patient at a Children’s clinic or hospital, or has previously been a patient, we encourage you to get involved in the Families as Partners program.
Rachel joined Families as Partners after NICU experience
Read Rachel’s family’s story below to learn about her experience at Children’s Minnesota and how she is involved in the Families as Partners program.
Question: What is your connection with Children’s Minnesota?
Answer: My daughter was born 15 weeks early and spent almost five months between the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Infant Care Center (ICC), as well as several years of follow up care at various clinics.
Q: What do you do with Families as Partners?
A: I started on the NICU Experience Team, a group of parents who serve as advocates for patient- and family-centered care by creating and supporting unit programs and practices that enhance the patient and family experience in the NICU. … Closest to my heart are the monthly Coffee Breaks, which we began as a way to facilitate family-to-family communication on the unit. … Coffee Break hosts share our experiences, help connect families to Children’s resources, and encourage them to connect with one another during their child’s stay.
Q: Would you recommend it as a way for other families to get involved?
A: Absolutely. I joke that the day my daughter was discharged, I felt like I got fired. “Here’s your stuff in a box, don’t come back!” We were there for nearly five months, so it had started to feel like a second home. …I felt an urge to pay forward all the help and support we received, and this seemed like a good way to do that. I was surprised how much it also helped me personally come to terms with my experience. When I come home from the Coffee Breaks, I hug my daughter extra tight, more appreciative than usual of how far she’s come.
Q: Do you have a favorite experience with FAP?
A: There is one Coffee Break that stands out in my mind; there were two moms who were both fairly new to the unit. Their children had very different diagnoses, but both were looking at long-term stays. They met for the first time in the conference room with me, and for months afterwards, they would come to the Coffee Breaks together. I believe they were discharged around the same time, and I hope they are still in touch – that was the whole goal of the Coffee Breaks, to give families someone to connect with who could understand and truly empathize with their experiences.