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Strategies to Encourage a More Family-Centred Approach to Healthcare

White figured family on blue background

To understand family-centred care, first you have to understand the definition of “family.” According to the Institute for Patient and Family Centered Care, 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.

So, you define your family. No matter the definition, when a loved one is sick or in need of care, the family wants to be informed and feel a part of the process. The problem is that because the family wants to be there for their loved one, they might not always get the best care, as the hospital or nurses do not have the resources to accommodate them. Often families feel left out of the process or uneasy if their needs are not being met.

Top 10 Needs Based on CCFNI Studies

Now, let’s focus on the problem. The family often has needs that need to be met when they are coping with caring for a loved one, and they are huge part of the caring process. Here are the top 10 needs that were based on 11 CCFNI studies (1986-2002):

  • To know the prognosis;
  • To have questions answered honestly;
  • To be called at home if any changes occur;
  • To be assured the best possible care is given;
  • To know the facts concerning patient progress;
  • To receive information about the patient once per day;
  • To feel there is hope;
  • To feel hospital personnel care about the patient;
  • That explanations are in understandable terms; and
  • To know the patient is being treated medically.

It’s a long list of needs and when the patient is the centre of everyone’s attention, many of these needs go unnoticed or neglected.

Drawing-woman thinking and questioning

What are the strategies that can be implemented to encourage a more family-centered approach to healthcare? Here are a few strategies that can be implemented, focusing on changing the policies:

  • Free parking for long-term patients;
  • Overnight sleeping areas;
  • Family website;
  • Increased family presence (open visiting hours);
  • Family conference room;
  • Toiletries, cell phone charges, snacks, etc. provided;
  • Family information (flyers)
  • Introductions from the staff; and
  • Standardizing uniforms.

These are all strategies that will help the family feel a part of the care process, while being cared for as well. It’s a philosophical approach that takes everyone’s needs into consideration, while catering to the family as a unit. Closing the Gap Healthcare delivers high quality health care, while offering family-centered care to our clients. We know how important it is to be there for your loved one and how stressful it can be when your needs are not met. We know how to help, so Contact Us with any questions you might have.

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