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Importance of family-centered care approach to patient care

Families play an important role in meeting the needs of individuals who require assistance due to an illness or disability. Because of this, they need adequate support, or they’ll compromise their health and wellbeing. As a result, there is a need to shift to family-centered care to improve the wellbeing of both patients and family caregivers.

What is family-centered care?

Scott Ferguson, a Family-Centered Care (FCC) Support Service Administrator, simply defines FCC as: “A partnership between families and clinicians. It’s a collaborative relationship. It helps families set the goals for their child’s treatment and recovery.”

It’s an approach that supports holistic patient care. There is a shift of power and control of patient care from those who offer to those who receive. By listening to patients and their families, learning from their experiences and what they consider important, healthcare professionals improve the delivery of care and  families get to live a heathy lifestyle.

There are four principles used to govern FCC:

  • Respect and dignity: Everyone involved is treated with respect and dignity. The expertise, culture and preferences of the family and individuals are valued.
  • Community: Information is shared in an unbiased yet useful and supportive manner between healthcare providers, patients and their families.
  • Collaboration: There is a collaboration between families, patients, healthcare providers and even community caregivers when delivering care. There is also professional education, policy and program development.
  • Strength building: All the parties involved take part in experiences that build independence and enhance control.

Tips for achieving family-centered care


For healthcare professionals and caregivers to have a shared understanding of family-centered care, they need education, training, support and tools to help them out. Courses such as the University of Indianapolis online DNP-FNP program give you the resources to improve the collaboration level between various healthcare services, and the ability to perform detailed health histories, family histories and selected screenings. There are also other family resources available to help support a family-centered care approach.


To achieve the desired goals while maintaining family-centered care, one needs to consistently measure, monitor and report. Evaluations and feedback from parents and families in family-centered care programs should be carried out frequently. Surveys, focus groups and interviews come in handy for monitoring purposes.


It is important to have personnel in leadership positions who appreciate and understand family-centered care. They will hold staff accountable, set targets and ensure they are met, offer support and provide resources to ensure everyone can enjoy a safe and nurturing environment.

Family engagement

With family-centered care, the family needs to be actively included in decision-making, creating a collaborative partnership for everyone involved.

Benefits of family-centered care

  • The collaboration between professionals and families leads to better information and has enhanced healthcare decision-making.
  • When the care plan is developed by the family, there is improved buy-in and follow-through
  • Improved efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare resources and professionals’ time
  • Better communication between all the stakeholders
  • An increasing number of children and adolescents are becoming competent in managing their healthcare independently
  • Improved parent confidence and satisfaction as well as family empowerment

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