Parents and caregivers are essential to health and healing at Riley Children's Health. Our philosophy of care is based on a partnership with patients and families. Families are the experts on their children and a valued part of the healthcare team. We achieve the best patient outcomes by working together, employing everyone’s expertise on the subject that matters most: your child.
We approach care with the help of four guiding principles.
Dignity and Respect
Treat everyone with dignity and respect. Acknowledge the perspectives and choices of patients and their families. Honor their knowledge, beliefs and values. In return, patients and families hear and honor healthcare provider’s knowledge, expertise and skill.
Good communication among patients, families and healthcare providers is critical to effective healthcare. Medical professionals share complete, unbiased information with patients and families in a meaningful way. Patients and families share honest, complete information.
Patients and families are supported and encouraged to participate in care and decision-making in a way they find most comfortable.
Patients, families and healthcare professionals collaborate at all levels—at the bedside, the hospital and throughout the system—to ensure delivery of effective healthcare services.
Our commitment to Patient- and Family-Centered Care means we honor patient and family choices, exchange information and encourage full collaboration by families in care and decision-making. This approach is fundamental not only to how we care for individual patients, but also to how we operate as an organization.
One of the ways we continue to improve care is through the Family Advisor Program. The program invites families of Riley at IU Health patients to help us become more responsive to families and patients.
When you become a volunteer Family Advisor, your skills can help us make the hospital experience better for others. Here are just a few ways you can volunteer:
- Serve on councils and committees. Assist us by serving on councils or committees at Riley at IU Health. Some committees are short term and others ongoing, including the Pediatric Patient and Family Advisory Council and the Riley Patient Safety and Quality Council. There are other councils and workgroups throughout the hospital that also welcome the voices of parents and caregivers.
- Tell your story. Stories are powerful. They shape who we are and how we treat each other. We ask families to tell their stories to new nurses, doctors, medical students and others. Stories help our healthcare team appreciate the impact a sick child has on all family members and help us learn how to become better communicators. Some families share their stories with our Coordinator of Patient- and Family-Centered Care. Others allow us to publish their experiences in newsletters, website content and videos. Family Faculty is a team of volunteers who speak in educational settings.
- Attend special events. Family Advisors often give other families hope by emphasizing the positive results of excellent healthcare. As a volunteer Family Advisor, you can represent Riley at IU Health at special events, including Indianapolis Colts or Indiana Pacers games, conferences or dance marathons. Some events are spontaneous and others are planned months ahead.
- Educate others. Family Advisors help us prepare usable, understandable educational materials. They provide a unique perspective about what is helpful to families and patients, and they help us learn how to respond to needs. Volunteers can sign up to review patient education materials or answer questions posed by Riley at IU Health team members. Family Advisors also serve by attending focus groups to share ideas and determine what works best for families. Those who help educate are part of our E-Advisor and Focus Group Network.
- Be a mentor. Because shared experiences are often the basis of understanding, we offer a parent-to-parent mentor programs to match veteran families with those currently in the hospital. Volunteer mentors do not give medical advice, but they can provide information and offer emotional support during a confusing or traumatic time.
Whatever your talents are, we can find a place where you will be valued as a Family Advisor. Family advisors choose how and when to participate. Training and individual coaching are provided to prepare each volunteer for the role they choose. Advisors will know what to expect, what to do and how to be most effective in their role.
We understand that life with children can be complex—even more so when your child has a special healthcare need. We will do our best to support your participation according to the needs of your family. If you are interested in volunteering, contact us by email to let us know which opportunities look most interesting to you.
Pediatric Patient and Family Advisory Council
Riley Children’s Health serves any child in need of quality pediatric care. Patient and Family Advisory Councils have been initiated at many of the IU Health facilities.
The Pediatric Patient and Family Advisory Council, composed of Riley families, meets monthly to consider issues specific to children’s healthcare. The council strengthens partnerships between patients’ families and the healthcare community. It is one option for Riley families to partner with staff to improve the care experience.
Goals are set annually for the council related to hospital initiatives, policies and health experience issues identified by families and staff. Recommendations are made by the council members based on the family perspective to improve the quality and safety of care for all Riley families. Learn more about the annual goals and highlights below.
Many council members also serve in other advisory roles including Family Faculty, Family Representative on quality improvement teams and Parent to Parent mentors. An orientation to serving on the council is provided to any potential member who must also complete all Riley volunteer requirements.
Visit the Events page to find upcoming advisory council meetings.
Do you have a question for a family advisor? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Riley Teen Advisory Board (TAB)
The purpose of this group is to gain the perspective of teens about the Riley care experience. Ideas and feedback provided by teenage patients and their siblings is used to improve the patient experience. Apply to serve on TAB.
Please note this group has a different focus and methodology than the Riley Teen Leadership Council. For information on that group see Riley Teen Leadership Council.
Family Support Services. Follow these links to find Riley at IU Health resources for families.
Families United for Support and Encouragement (FUSE). Families raising children with special needs can find support, resources and information through this parent-driven organization.
Family Voices Indiana. This state chapter of Family Voices provides support and education for families with special needs children and youth.
HEAR Indiana. This organization offers advocacy, education and resources for children with hearing loss and their parents and caregivers.
Hands and Voices. This non-profit organization provides support for families with hearing-impaired children.
Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care. This site provides detailed information on creating collaborative, empowering relationships among patients, families and healthcare providers.
Riley Block Family Library. Search the Riley Block Family Library database to find resources and information, including brochures and books available from the library.