Learning with Families (LWF) is an innovative patient/family-centred care initiative to foster interprofessional education and collaborative practice by partnering staff with family leaders who share their lived experiences of caring for a child with health issues. Family leaders and staff exchange experiences and partner to co-design positive and safe changes to improve experiences.
LWF emerged to address challenges that families face. It involves four facilitated sessions:
(1) Words, meanings and why kindness matters
(2) Living and caring for a child with health issues
(3) The health care team: What matters to families?
(4) Family-centered care, dignity and respect, information sharing, collaboration and empowerment.
LWF program leaders recruit parents/care givers for participation; staff volunteer. One family leader and four to six staff is assigned to a session series. Each session is 90 to 120 minutes. Following each session, participants are given an on-line evaluation and self-reflection journal to complete.
During each session the family leader shares their knowledge and experiences of the health care system. Facilitators keep the discussion on topic, monitor time and support the family leader as needed. Staff participants listen, reflect and ask questions. At the end of the series, the family leader and staff identify inefficiencies (gaps) and co-design strategies to make positive changes.
The goals of LWF:
1. Ensure children and families experience health services that are people-centered, safe and supportive.
2. Change the capabilities, attitudes and intentions of staff to institute changes in practice that will address identified gaps and inefficiencies and improve patient/family experiences.