Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital is a world-class pediatric hospital that often ranks in the nation's top one percent in patient satisfaction, according to Press Ganey surveys. Located in Hollywood, Florida, a facility of Memorial Healthcare System, the Children's Hospital has an avid commitment to patient- and family-centered care. It's a place where hospital staff and leadership recognize the family as the strongest foundation in a child's life and the greatest influence over a child's health and well-being.

Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital has been committed to patient- and family-centered care since its doors opened in 1992. This commitment was further demonstrated by the hiring of a director for patient- and family-centered care in 2003, and in 2004 appointing a physician liaison to assist with these efforts. Together, they promote and champion best practices related to patient- and family-centered care throughout the Children's Hospital. Consultants from the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care have collaborated in the Children's Hospital strategic planning to advance this practice.

The hospital's full-time Special Needs Coordinator ensures that the distinctive requirements of children, families, and visitors with special needs are integrated with care at the hospital. Services and equipment, including language translation and telephone devices for individuals with vision and hearing impairments, are available to anyone with special needs.

Patient- and Family-Centered Standards of Behavior have been developed for the Children's Hospital and integrated in Human Resources processes. Mandatory training was provided to all 500 hospital employees. Employees are asked to review and recommit to these standards as part of annual performance evaluations.

Patient- and family-centered care has been so successful in the Children's Hospital that Memorial Healthcare System's leadership has begun to integrate the patient- and family-centered philosophy throughout the entire system. All clinical programs at each adult hospital, including Memorial Regional Hospital, Memorial Hospital West, Memorial Hospital Miramar and Memorial Hospital Pembroke, are incorporating patient- and family-centered care strategies. The newly developed Patient- and Family-Centered Newsletter expands communication about patient- and family-centered initiatives throughout the system.

In January, 2006, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital hosted a Patient- and Family-Centered Symposium for Memorial Healthcare System staff, physicians, patients, and families. Posters were displayed in the lobby and workshops included PFCC—A Journey through the Eyes of a Physician; HIPAA and PFCC, Family Presence in Resuscitations, and Smoothing Transitions for Patients and Families. A local TV news commentator whose son received cancer care at Joe DiMaggio facilitated the day's ending patient and family panel.

A Family-Friendly Place

The Children's Hospital family-friendly environment encourages families to interact with other families and their own family to maintain some of their customary routines. The 4,000-square-feet family center is conducive to gathering with siblings, playing with toys and activity games or for reading timeless story books.

Thousands of families world-wide have stayed overnight, free of charge, at the conveniently located Conine Clubhouse, named in honor of former Florida Marlin and World Series champion Jeff Conine.

In Case of Emergency

Medical emergencies are often terrifying for children and their families. Families have the option of being present with their children during painful challenging procedures or during a code/resuscitation. The newly renovated 12,000 square foot pediatric emergency room (ER) sports a village décor and 23 private patient rooms. Movies shown in the evening on the wall of the outdoor playground, an indoor play area, and a nourishment area for families create positive first impressions and often help children and families feel more at ease in the midst of medical emergencies.

The emergency department, a Level I Pediatric Trauma Center, has state-of-the-art pediatric technology, a separate pediatric radiology suite, and a secure psychiatric area. Families are asked to complete a short form to share their fears and concerns about their child, reinforcing that they are important members of their child's health care team.

Other Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Features:

  • Teddy bear tours - Hospital tours for children and families prior to a surgery to familiarize them with the hospital and to help ease the fear both may have regarding many aspects of hospitalization.
  • Family presence in the recovery room during Post-Anesthesia Care.
  • A new Parents Helping Parents Program in the NICU developed by family advisors with six hours of training for parents on providing peer support.
  • Child Life Department.
  • Classroom with computers and current textbooks - A full-time certified Broward County School teacher is on site every school day. Through a partnership with Broward County School District, children registered in the homebound program can keep up with their school curriculum, rather than miss school days due to hospitalization.
  • Residential clown.
  • Relaxation room.
  • Teen room.
  • Big screen TV, family-viewing area.
  • Free lunch for parents.
  • Laundry room.
  • Boundless playground - a barrier-free area with sensory-rich activities and a colorful playground delight for children with disabilities.

Getting Involved with Families

In 2003, the Family Advisory Council was created to provide a structure for parents and other family members to collaborate with staff members. This Council has direct input and influence on policies, programs and practices affecting children and families at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital. In 2005, JDCH Administration invited members of the Family Advisory Council to participate in the annual "State of the Hospital" address. Teens also have involvement in the development of hospital programs and policies through the Youth Advisory Council.

The hospital's commitment to patient- and family-centered care means that families have an essential role in planning and decision-making about their children's health care, as well as an important role in developing, organizing and delivering services.

Family Advisory Council/Youth Advisory Council members:

  • Assess needs.
  • Evaluate programs.
  • Assist in orientation of new staff and ongoing in-service programs.
  • Facilitate support groups.
  • Develop family activities.
  • Mentor other families.
  • Participate in focus groups, conferences, and fundraisers.

Many times, extended family members are as much part of a child's support system, as the parents at the bedside. Therefore, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital offers families an opportunity to connect with relatives and friends outside the walls of the hospital through an Internet service called CarePages. This is a personalized and secure web page that parents and children can create to help communicate with family and friends during a child's hospital stay.


Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital continues to be recognized on many fronts, having earned the annual distinction of being the "Best Hospital for Pediatrics in Broward County" since 1996, according to South Florida Parenting magazine. Other honors voted by parents in South Florida, include "Best Emergency Room for Kids in Broward County" and "Best Services for Special Needs Kids/Families in Broward County."

Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Foundation

The Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Foundation was established in 1994 to provide philanthropic support that supplements the income from payors and tax revenues received by the Memorial Healthcare System. The Foundation ensures the ongoing availability of the highest quality of healthcare services to everyone who needs them. Donors are recognized in a variety of ways and based on their contribution and commitment to the cause they join the roster of programs such as the "Circle of Friends," the "Physician's Circle," and "Dream Builders."

What the Future Holds

Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital is beginning the process of planning and building a stand-alone facility across the street from its current location. Families are already part of the planning teams for the new hospital facility.

Learn and Reach Out

For more information about patient- and family-centered care, visit, or contact Michelle Barone, Director, Patient- and Family-Centered Care, at 954-265-0191 or via e-mail