Measuring Family Centred Care: Working with Children and Their Parents in a Tertiary Hospital

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Linda Shields
Abdulla A. Mamun
Sandra Pereira
Pam O'Nions
Gervase Chaney


Rationale and aim: Family-centred care (FCC) is widely used in paediatrics, though no rigorous evidence for it exists. A growing body of qualitative research raises concerns about FCC, and health professionals’ attitudes to it. We measured attitudes to working with children and working with parents of hospitalised children held by nurses, doctors, allied health and ancillary staff at an Australian children’s hospital, using a validated questionnaire with two scores, one for working with children, one for working with parents, and demographic characteristics, and compared responses.Method: we recruited a randomized sample, and compared means of working with children and working with parents scores, using a Wilcoxon signed rank test p<0.0001. Mean differences by categories of demographics were estimated using ANOVA and median test compared the median scores.Results: respondents gave significantly more positive scores for working with children than parents. These were influenced by level of education, whether respondents were parents themselves, if they held senior positions, had worked with children for a long time, and held a paediatric qualification.Conclusions: paediatric health professionals view working with children in a more positive light than working with parents. However, if FCC was being implemented effectively, given its empahsis on the whole family as the unit of care, there would be no difference between working with children or their parents. This quantiative study supports the increasing body of qualitative research which highlights problems with this model. In addition, this study provides a way to measure FCC.

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