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“There are no difficult families. There are only families in extremely challenging situations.”

That’s Karen Wayman’s mantra. As director of family-centered care at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Wayman helps families work as partners with their health care team so that their child receives the best possible care.

The core belief of family-centered care is this: You know your child best, and family input is critical to health providers caring for children with special health care needs.

A recent grant from the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health has allowed Wayman to bring together 20 hospitals and pediatric units in California to share strategies, information and resources. While some hospitals have many years of experience implementing family-centered care, others are just starting.

The purpose of the project is to help hospitals “embed” savvy family advisors in hospital care settings and develop an effective family advisory council.

For more information about the family-centered care approach and about the training initiative, contact Karen Wayman at