November 7, 2022

The Best Resource in a Children’s Hospital is a Family Advisory Council. But First, How Do You Get Parents to Show Up?

The best resource children’s hospitals can collect feedback and data from is rarely effectively used: Family Advisory Councils. What is a family advisory council? A family advisory council is comprised of a group of parents and caregivers that have previously received care from a specific facility. The group meets on a regular basis with multidisciplinary […]

The best resource children’s hospitals can collect feedback and data from is rarely effectively used: Family Advisory Councils.

What is a family advisory council?

A family advisory council is comprised of a group of parents and caregivers that have previously received care from a specific facility. The group meets on a regular basis with multidisciplinary staff to provide feedback, suggest changes, and implement projects to improve the patient experience.

What projects do they work on?

The projects that councils work on vary from hospital to hospital, but mainly focus on patient experience. Whether it’s determining the food served in the cafeteria, the layout of the lobby, or a new resource the hospital has created, the council provides feedback on hospital projects.

How do you get parents and employees to show up?

Like most volunteer-based committees, one of the common challenges for councils is that it can be difficult to recruit dedicated members that show up consistently. However, there are key strategies that drastically improve your membership.


Poll your members to see what days and times work best – is it weekends, weekday evenings, or a virtual lunch meeting?


Are these meetings productive or do they feel like they are “meetings that could have been an email?”


Do the members see the projects they work on turn into fruition, or are they just tasks and “busy work.”


Who shows up to the meetings from the hospital side? Is it just the psychosocial care team who already receives regular feedback from patients about their experience, or is it the President of the hospital and lead neurosurgeon? Families want to know their voices are being heard by the right people.


Family Advisory Councils work well when both parent and staff members have leadership responsibilities. Having a stake in the way the committee functions from both sides is a key measure of how successful the council will be.

Which organizations implement an impactful patient and family advisory council?

John’s Hopkin Medicine: Partnering with Patients, Families, and Caregivers

A patient and family advisory council (PFAC) is an organization of current and former patients, family members, and caregivers that works together to advance best practices at a hospital or healthcare organization. Volunteer patients and families collaborate with employees (clinical, administrative, and support) to provide guidance on how to improve the patient and family experience. Johns Hopkins Medicine has over 20 PFACs offered across our care centers.


The Bureau of Family Health (BFH) Family Advisory Council (FAC) is made up of family members and consumers who are interested in helping drive positive changes to maternal and child health services and information programs for women, children, and families. So, what does this mean? It means that we are looking for dedicated family members or consumers across the state to tell us what it is like to live in their community and access services. We want to hear your opinions, ideas, experiences, and stories.


Children’s Hospital of Colorado: Family Advisory Councils

The Family Advisory Councils give families a valuable voice. Working together with hospital leadership and staff, our councils help promote and improve family-centered care at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

We created Family Advisory Councils because we believe that we can enhance care for everyone through genuine partnership between clinical teams, patients and families. We recognize that family members are the most important members of a child’s health team. And that when we work together to reach our goals , we can provide the highest quality, family-centered healthcare services.


Vanderbilt Health: Patient and Family Advisory Councils

At Vanderbilt Health, we believe quality health care is grounded in the partnership between patients, families and their care teams. Our goal is to create patient- and family-centered care by listening to your needs, incorporating your ideas, partnering in your safety and educating you to advocate for your own care.


Boston Children’s Hospital: Family Advisory Council

The Family Advisory Council (FAC) is made up of parents and caregivers of Boston Children’s patients as well as several Boston Children’s staff members. Our mission is to ensure that patients and families are engaged in all decisions that affect quality of care, safety, and patient experience.

FAC members engage with the hospital in three key ways:


Phoenix Children’s: Patient and Family Advisory Councils & Patient/ Parent Workgroups

Support Programs In this Section At Phoenix Children’s, we’re committed to constantly improving patient care and giving every child and family the best health care experience possible and you can help. If your child or loved one has been a patient of Phoenix Children’s at any location in our network, there are many ways you can provide input and help us learn from your experience.


UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Family Advisory Council

The Family Advisory Council (FAC) at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland acts as a consultant to the hospital. The council at each location is made up of families that partner with staff and clinicians to provide advice on various hospital-related topics, from policy changes and communication to designing a healing environment and parents’ perspectives on clinical care. Its overall purpose is to improve the quality of patient and family care.

Youth Advisory Council Serving on the Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is an opportunity for teenagers and young adults to take an active role in improving the patient experience at our hospitals. Made up of current or former patients of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland, this group advises hospital leadership, collaborates with care providers and plans events for other pediatric patients.

Learn more about the YAC’s role and how to apply.


A successful family advisory council is a hospital’s cost-effective way of receiving honest and valuable feedback from its core customer. Missing out on this opportunity only costs the hospital more time and money in the long run.

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