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Families part of the medical care team at The Hospital of Central Connecticut

New Britain [July 16 2010] - Staff on The Hospital of Central Connecticut’s pediatric unit understand that parents with a hospitalized child often feel anxious and helpless.
Like Jessica Tacinelli of Plainville and Osbaldo Melendez of Waterbury, whose son, Ayden Melendez, was born June 29 with a kidney problem. Ayden spent several days in the hospital’s Special Care Nursery, part of the Family BirthPlace. He was then transferred to the pediatric unit, where he was expected to spend another couple weeks before going home.

It has been a stressful time for both parents, but thanks to some changes on the Family BirthPlace and pediatric unit, they’ve been able to spend a lot of time with their son, and been intimately involved in his care.

One of those changes involves having Tacinelli and Melendez join physicians, nurses and other care team members in medical rounds discussions and decisions about their child’s treatment. Family BirthPlace and pediatric staff strongly encourage parents or guardians to participate in rounds, because they can offer valuable information that helps the medical team improve care.

“It’s not just about us telling them what’s going on,” said Aurora Jakubowski, LCSW, maternal/child social worker at the hospital. “Doctors are asking parents, how do you think your child is doing?”
For Tacinelli, the rounds have been an invaluable experience.

“It’s been great,” she said. “I wanted to be involved in everything and know everything, since I’m a first-time mom.”

Parent participation in medical rounds is part of a movement toward family-centered care (sometimes called patient-centered care), which aims to involve families more in their children’s treatment, empower parents and ultimately make care even better.

“No one is more invested in the care provided than the patient and his or her loved ones,” said Antoinetta Capriglione, M.D., chief of pediatrics at The Hospital of Central Connecticut (HCC). “Patients and their families should be participating in the care. That’s the basic premise of family-centered care.”

On July 15, HCC’s pediatric unit staff signed a proclamation making their commitment to family-centered care official. HCC actually began working toward family-centered care two years ago, when staff on the Family BirthPlace nursery introduced the concept.

Nursery staff have already implemented some of the changes occurring on the pediatric unit now. In fact the nursery has taken it a step further – having former patients’ parents serve on a unit advisory committee to make recommendations on improving care. Other changes have included more flexible visiting policies and hours and, on the pediatric unit, supplying cots so parents like Tacinelli and Melendez can stay with their child. A kitchen on the unit is available to family members 24/7.

“They’re awesome here,” Tacinelli said. “You feel at home.”

On both the pediatric unit and the nursery, moving toward family-centered care has involved a true “rethinking” of roles, and much staff commitment, Capriglione said. But the efforts are worth it.

“Family-centered care is the right thing to do, and it helps us deliver safer, better care.”

Contact: Nancy Martin, 860-224-5900, ext. 4366

HCC Corporate Communications
(860) 224-5695 • Fax (860) 224-5779