It’s a difficult conversation, I’m afraid. When asking practitioners informally whether they practice Family-Centered Care (FCC), about 50% raise their hand. In reality, at most, 30% of practice is truly FCC.
So where does the perception gap come from?
No matter how we define our practice philosophy, we always have to do with family members and care takers. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Sometimes we plan it that way and other times it just happens. What makes a practice truly family-centered is the intentional and conscious effort to involve family throughout the journey. It also means your entire staff has signed on and is actively engaged in bringing FCC to life. From the first phone call onward.
In other words, centering your practice around the family, rather than only the client, requires preparation, learning and consistent implementation. It is about change. Change is difficult. We are all creatures of habit and while we often have good intentions, implementing change often fails. Real-life challenges stand in the way of change. As a matter of fact, there is a lot of science behind change. What used to be called change management is now an academic topic called implementation science. If you google ‘implementation science’ you get 412,000,000 entries. If you google ’implementation science in healthcare’ you get 402,000,000. So you see, change is obviously a complex topic. The bottom line? Take small steps, don’t try to do too much at once.
What does that mean for implementation of FCC?
Start by discussing with the entire staff what family-centered practice really is and what you all see as the most important first steps. Set clear and measurable goals, make everyone accountable. Use the tools and materials freely available on the phonakpro.com website to prepare. If you need more help call your Phonak representative and ask how they can support you.
Why should you bother? Not only will you be able to raise your hand confidently next time someone asks whether you practice FCC, there is strong evidence that clinician and client satisfaction will increase and your business will grow. And just as important, it is a great way to differentiate yourself. In today’s competitive environment having a unique fingerprint is essential.
We invite you to read Ora Buerkli’s previous blog post on the Phonak Family-Centered Care initiative, Ever wonder why you chose audiology as a profession?