Home Medical Services Family-centered care: what is it, and how does it work?

Family-centered care: what is it, and how does it work?

by Juan D. Vanpelt

Family-centered care: what is it, and how does it work? 2

Family-centered care is a philosophy and approach in healthcare that involves close cooperation between providers and families in decision-making. It produces mutually beneficial relationships between healthcare providers, patients, and patients’ families, which translates to better patient outcomes across all healthcare settings.

Learning more about this type of healthcare can help you make your approach to nursing more family oriented, which can lead to more effective healthcare planning, delivery, and evaluation. Below, we outline what family-centered care is and explore its core components.

What is family-centered care?

Family-centered care is an approach to healthcare used primarily in pediatrics that seeks to improve outcomes, respect family values, reduce stress, improve communication, and reduce conflicts and lawsuits. It emphasizes constant collaboration between healthcare providers and patients’ families to deliver the best possible standards of care. It considers how families define excellent healthcare and seek to align practices with these definitions as best as possible. Here are some objectives of family-centered care:

  • They are acknowledging the importance of families and their support in delivering healthcare.
  • Helping patients and families participate in care decisions.
  • I respect diverse cultural traditions and values.
  • We are emphasizing the importance of community-based care.
  • I am promoting a personalized approach.
  • We are facilitating peer-to-peer support.
  • Supporting children as they become adults.
  • We are developing family-centered practices and policies.

The core principles of family-centered care

Family-centered care is based on several core concepts that inform specific policies and approaches to healthcare. Here are the main principles of this kind of care.


Family-centered care aims to respect the unique values and traditions of patients and their families, which means considering their perspectives and choices when making decisions. The planning and delivery of care factors on the patient’s family background to provide a better patient experience.


Family nurses, such as those who have completed a DNP-FNP online program, work directly with families in the planning and delivery of healthcare. These courses equip nurses with the highest level of proficiency in family practice, enabling them to influence quality improvements. Collaboration also occurs between healthcare leaders, policymakers, patients, and families, where they seek to improve facility designs, research, program development, and healthcare delivery.


Participation means inviting families to participate at the level they choose. This means encouraging and supporting them to get involved with healthcare planning, delivery, and evaluation. They also participate in various other areas, such as those mentioned above.

Sharing information

Healthcare professionals communicate all relevant and useful information to families so that they can make informed decisions. Sending families unbiased, accurate, and up-to-date information enables them to participate in the various aspects of healthcare delivery, which produces outcomes that align closely with their expectations.

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