When parents grow older, life can become a balancing act. Nobody sets down a guide at your feet outlining everything you must do for your parents as they grow older. This lack of support and confusion leads to stress, possibly your own health issues, and an overall sense of unease.
A study was conducted by Elizabeth Henneman and Suzette Cardin looking at the idea of family-centered care, and how we can make it happen. The family often gets neglected in the process of caring for their loved one, as all of the focus is on this single patient, not the family unit. The study found that “units that are successful in adopting a family-centered approach typically have characteristics such as strong leaders, a caring staff, and the support of a committed multi-disciplinary team.”
What is family-centered care? Henneman and Cardin explain that there are misconceptions surrounding family-centered care, as many clinicians correlate family-centered care with open visiting. However, family-centered care is more than this, it’s a philosophical approach that recognizes the patient’s family’s needs and the important role that the family unit plays in regards to family care.
Say a family is dealing with a loved one in the hospital, and they are spending 24 hours at a time caring for them. The hospital might not be able to meet the needs of the family, as their job is to care for the patient. The family might feel as if they are in the way or being ignored by the hospital staff. However, family-centered care is looking to care for the patient and the family, while the patient continues to remain a priority.
Here are the needs of the family based on the study:
- The need for information: The family is often anxious to hear updates and information surrounding their loved one and turn to the nurses for support.
- The need for reassurance and support: Family members want to know that when they leave, their loved one is receiving the best care, and they need reassurance that this is happening.
- The need to be with the patient: Family members want to be physically there for their loved one and witness how their loved one is being cared for.
Henneman and Cardin mention that it is time to embrace family-centered care, as institutions need to start addressing the needs of the family to be successful. It’s time to adopt the family-centered care philosophy and recognize the needs of the family unit.
At Closing the Gap Healthcare, we have adopted the family-centered care philosophy, and we believe that the family’s needs are important. To learn more about family-centered care or Closing the Gap, please Contact Us and ask us any questions you might have.