About Family-Centered Care

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If you are inspired to make a difference by serving on the Neonatal Family Advisory Council or want more information, please email Rachel.Levin@nhrmc.org or Alison.Martin@ccneo.net.

If you are new to family-centered health care, these frequently asked questions and answers from The Institute for Family Centered Care may help you understand better.

What is patient- and family-centered health care?

Patient- and family-centered care is an innovative approach to the planning, delivery, and evaluation of health care that is grounded in mutually beneficial partnerships among healthcare providers, patients, and families. Patient- and family-centered care applies to patients of all ages, and it may be practiced in any healthcare setting. 

What are the core concepts of patient- and family-centered care?

Respect and dignity. Healthcare practitioners listen to and honor patient and family perspectives and choices. Patient and family knowledge, values, beliefs and cultural backgrounds are incorporated into the planning and delivery of care.

Information Sharing. Healthcare practitioners communicate and share complete and unbiased information with patients and families in ways that are affirming and useful. Patients and families receive timely, complete, and accurate information in order to effectively participate in care and decision-making.

Participation. Patients and families are encouraged and supported in participating in care and decision-making at the level they choose.

Collaboration. Patients and families are also included on an institution-wide basis. Healthcare leaders collaborate with patients and families in policy and program development, implementation, and evaluation; in healthcare facility design; and in professional education, as well as in the delivery of care. 

What is meant by the word "family"?

The word "family" refers to two or more persons who are related in any way-biologically, legally, or emotionally. Patients and families define their families.

In the patient- and family-centered approach, the definition of family, as well as the degree of the family's involvement in health care, is determined by the patient, provided that he or she is developmentally mature and competent to do so. The term "family-centered" is in no way intended to remove control from patients who are competent to make decisions concerning their own health care. In pediatrics, particularly with infants and young children, family members are defined by the patient's parents or guardians.