Family centered care

Family-centered care or Relationship-Centered Care[1] is one of four approaches that provides an expanded view of how to work with children and families. Family-centered service is made up of a set of values, attitudes, and approaches to services for children with special needs and their families. In some family-centered settings such as the Hasbro Children's Partial Hospital Program, medical and psychiatric services are integrated to help teach parents and children methods to treat illness and disease. Family-centered service recognizes that each family is unique; that the family is the constant in the child's life; and that they are the experts on the child's abilities and needs. The family works with service providers to make informed decisions about the services and supports the child and family receive. In family-centered service, the strengths and needs of all family members are considered.[2]

Family-centered service reflects a shift from the traditional focus on the biomedical aspects of a child's condition to a concern with seeing the child in context of their family and recognizing the primacy of family in the child's life. The principles argue in favor of an approach that respects families as integral and coequal parts of the health care team.[2] This approach is expected to improve the quality and safety of a patient's care by helping to foster communication between families and health care professionals. Furthermore, by taking family/patient input and concerns into account, the family feels comfortable working with professionals on a plan of care, and professionals are "on board" in terms of what families expect with medical interventions and health outcomes. In some health systems, patients and family members serve as advisers to the hospital in order to provide input that can lead to general quality improvement efforts.[3] Family-centered approaches to health care intervention also generally lead to wiser allocation of health care resources, as well as greater patient and family satisfaction.