Masters Thesis

Patient and family advisory committees: their impact on the population of children with special health care needs

Family Advisory Committees (FAC) are used in some health-related institutions to enhance communication between families and professionals that provide services to children with special health care needs (CSHCN). Parental participation can enhance the quality of care received by their child(ren), increase satisfaction of health care services provided, and ultimately lead to better health outcomes. Parents who participate in FAC’s have opportunities to hear directly from service providers and health care leaders about services and benefits, they can ask questions about their child’s care, and they can advocate for recommendations to enhance service delivery. In addition, parents can develop relationships with fellow parents who have similar needs and concerns about health care delivery for CSHCN. These peer relationships promote open dialogue and support with people with similar life experiences. The purpose of this comprehensive examination will be to look at the impact that participating in Family Advisory Committees (FAC's) has on parental decision making about the health of their child with special health care needs (CSHCN). The comprehensive examination will include research of the trends and background information of FAC’s, how parental involvement in FAC’s impact the health care disparities of CSHCN, current best practices in the implementation of FAC’s, and recommendations for consideration in enhancing these committees.