Quality & Safety
Questions Families Ask
In choosing a hospital for a child, families often have many questions. The following are some of the most common ones.
1. Is a children’s hospital the best option, or is an adult hospital just as good?
Generally, children’s hospitals are preferable to adult hospitals because pediatric care is different from care provided to adults. For one thing, children’s hospitals have equipment that is the right size for children and young adults. Another reason is that staff members have more experience in how anesthesia and drugs affect children. Finally, because children’s health problems are different from those found in adults, a children’s hospital is likely to have more experience with your child’s specific medical condition.
2. What about a research hospital versus a community hospital?
Choosing a children’s hospital that also does research means that your child may be among the first to benefit from new research discoveries and treatments. For children with serious medical problems, this can sometimes make a tremendous difference in a child’s prognosis and recovery.
3. Is it better to choose a hospital that specializes in the child’s medical condition?
There is general agreement in the medical community that hospitals and physicians that have expertise in a particular medical condition and see relatively large numbers of patients with that condition usually have better outcomes. However, since some conditions that affect children are relatively rare, volume is not always a relevant consideration. In such cases, finding a hospital or practitioner who has done research on the child’s specific medical condition may be more important.
4. How involved should parents be in hospital quality and safety improvement programs?
At Boston Children’s Hospital, we believe that parents are among the best qualified to tell us how quality and safety can be improved. Parents know their child best and can tell right away when something isn’t working right. Parents often have good ideas about how care can be improved, and we encourage them – as well as children who are old enough – to contact members of their care team to voice their concerns.
One example of how we involve parents in their child’s care is our Family-Activated Rapid Response Team. If parents notice a sudden change in their child’s condition, they can call for help using our rapid response system. When children are admitted to the hospital, parents are informed about this option, and each patient room has an emergency phone and instructions on how to use it.
5. How can I find out what other parents think about your quality and safety?
If you are interested in talking to other families about our quality and safety, you can do that through The Center for Families, which is dedicated to helping families find the information and resources they need to understand their child’s medical condition and take part in their care. Through the Center for Families, you can be connected with other families and request family-to-family support.
We Welcome Your Feedback
We would love to hear what you think about our quality and safety website. Is the information on this website useful to you? Are there are things that you would like to see that aren't included? Please feel free to email us your comments and questions.