Learning and Insights:
Family-Centered Care Conferences Curaçao
Working collaboratively with families and health care partners to advance Family-Centered Care within pediatric healthcare.

Caring for a seriously ill child can be a heartbreaking burden to carry alone. Ronald McDonald House Charities Curaçao aims to alleviate some of the strain on the families of these young patients, by addressing their needs and advocating for care that is centered around pediatric patients and their families.

Family-Centered Care (FCC) is an approach in health care that provides an expanded and enhanced view of how care should be provided to patients, in the context of the strengths and needs of their families and communities. FCC is often described as optimal health care from the families’ perspective and experience. It’s viewed as critically important in providing care to children, especially those with serious medical conditions.

In the FCC approach to healthcare, the patient and their family members are fully involved with healthcare professionals in order to make informed decisions about the medical care and support services the child and family receives. While FCC is the standard in pediatric healthcare and is widely endorsed, it continues to be insufficiently implemented and prioritized into clinical practice. The RMHC system supports access to quality health care for families around the world and enables, facilitates and supports family-centered care. RMHC programs around the world are essential to enabling parents to be physically and emotionally involved in the well-being and health care of their child.

Our goal is to improve this crucial aspect of quality medical care that supports families throughout their healthcare journeys. As advocates for and experts in the needs of these young patients and their families, we started a series of annual conferences in 2019 on FCC. So far, we have organized three consecutive conferences to introduce the philosophy and importance of FCC, the impact of COVID-19 on FCC and the ongoing effects of COVID-19. During these conferences, we gathered stakeholders and partners and opened a collaborative dialogue around the current state. 

Guiding Conference Questions

  •     What does Family-Centered Care entail in the context of our island?
  •     What is it that patients, families and the community of Curaçao needs in order to have care be centered around them?
  •     Where is Curaçao at present in relation to FCC?
  •     What does a future with quality FCC look like for Curaçao’s patients, families and community?
  •     Where do we want to go as a community to influence or expand FCC services?
  •     How do we get there as a community and a (local) healthcare system?
  •     What should RMHC’s role continue to be in facilitating these discussions?

We hope to inspire you and your team with this material and provide valuable insights that equip us to continue to do our part collectively and make a difference for families with sick children everywhere.

"RMHC Curaçao aims to empower, support, and facilitate the adoption of the role that family-centered care can play in Curaçao's healthcare delivery system. We work collaboratively for and with families and children's healthcare partners locally and abroad - wherever else patients are sent for treatment -in order to advance families' proximity and reduce often commutes to care facilities, involvement, education and partners."

What’s next? Key opportunities in 2022

Our conferences, open discussions and ongoing conversations—with experts in the hospital and beyond, the medical department and families–provided us with many opportunities and insights. In return, we would like to share three opportunities that could help advance FCC in other pediatric care settings beyond Curaçao.
    1. Implementation of FCC Teams Implement local FCC teams (at the unit, department or clinic level) consisting of nurses and pediatricians and RMHC staff (parents) to get the conversations started. Talk about what FCC is, map out current needs and discuss how FCC practices can be implemented in each department. Depending on the structure of your partner hospital, every department within pediatrics (e.g. General pediatrics, NICU) may need its own FCC Team.
    2. Help parents and children cope with stress Facilitate interventions designed to help patients and their parents cope with stress. For example, with parent and staff input, create wellness programs for families, focusing on different aspects of health—mental, physical, and spiritual. Help organize or facilitate weekly sessions where families can get psychological help or guidance, be part of a family support group, participate in social gatherings, meditation, yoga and more.
    3. Parents are part of the care team Incorporate parents as part of the care team, they’re not visitors; they are essential partners in the care of their children. Involving them in this process is a crucial point in order to create the best care possible and ultimately better outcome for patients.

Video Library

Promoting lifelong learning; not just during our conferences, but far beyond.

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