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Family-Centered Care

Patient- and family-centered care is an approach to the planning, delivery, and evaluation of health care that is grounded in mutually beneficial partnerships among health care providers, patients, and families. It redefines the relationships in health care.
Patient- and family-centered practitioners recognize the vital role that families play in ensuring the health and well-being of infants, children, adolescents, and family members of all ages. They acknowledge that emotional, social, and developmental supports are integral components of health care. They promote the health and well-being of individuals and families and restore dignity and control to them.

Patient- and family-centered care is an approach to health care that shapes policies, programs, facility design, and staff day-to-day interactions. It leads to better health outcomes and wiser allocation of resources, and greater patient and family satisfaction. The core concepts are:

  • Respect and dignity. Health care 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. Health care 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. Health care leaders collaborate with patients and families in policy and program development, implementation, and evaluation; in health care facility design; and in professional education, as well as in the delivery of care.

Medical Professionals can consider:

  • Do I believe that patients and family members bring unique perspectives and expertise to the clinical relationship?
  • Do I work to create an environment in which patients and families feel supported enough to speak freely?
  • Do I listen respectfully to the opinions of patients and family members?
  • Do I encourage patients and family members to participate in decision-making about their care?
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National Center for Family and Professional Partnerships
Helping families of children and youth with special health care needs/disabilities and professional partner to improve care.

Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care
Information to advance the understanding and practice of patient- and family-centered care in hospitals and other health care settings.

Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau Core Outcomes: Key Measures of Performance
Six Core Outcomes to promote community-based system of services mandated for Children with Special Health Care Needs

Positioning the Family and Patient at the Center
A Guide to Family and Patient Partnership in the Medical Home

How to Help Children with Disabilities and Special Health Care Needs Receive Support at School
Information on Section 504 and how children with special health care needs may be eligible for services and accommodations in public school settings.

Six Tips for Helping Parents Advocate for Their Child’s Care
Ideas for medical professionals on supporting parents of children with special health care needs in advocating for the services and supports their child needs in public school settings.

It’s the ‘Person First’ Then the Disability
Examples of appropriate ways addressing a person with a disability

'Parents Perspectives' Video Series
The Center for Learning and Leadership, Oklahoma's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (Oklahoma UCEDD) recently developed a short video series featuring parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, or special health care needs. In the videos parents share their perspectives on getting a disability diagnosis, supporting their children through transitions in the school system, and dealing with emergency personnel. Learn more about the parent's perspective of disability diagnosis, educational transition, and emergency medical services in the short video series, "Parents' Perspectives."

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