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Parent and staff perceptions of family-centred care in two Australian children’s hospitals

Fenella Gill, Elaine Pascoe, Leanne Monterosso, Jeanine Young, Charlotte Burr, Ann Tanner, Linda Shields


Aim: This paper is a report of the comparison of perceptions of family-centred care by hospital staff (nurses, doctors and allied health staff) and parents of hospitalised children in two Australian tertiary paediatric hospitals.

Background: Family-centred care is an accepted approach to caring for children and their families in hospital. Previous publications have been inconsistent, ranging from promoting its benefits and integration into practice, reporting operational difficulties and proposing that family-centred care may not be working at all. An evaluation of the model of care is long overdue.

Method: A quantitative comparative cross-sectional survey was used to collect data in 2010 from a convenience sample of 309 parents of hospitalised children and 519 staff. Participants rated 20 items grouped into three subscales of respect, collaboration and support.

Findings: Both parents and staff responses were positive and parents had significantly higher subscale scores for respect, collaboration and support (all p<0.0001). Parents’ responses for 19 of the 20 items were significantly higher than for staff. The item on which parents and staff did not differ was concerned with being able to question recommendations about the child’s treatment.

Conclusion: Both parents and staff had positive perceptions of their family-centred care experiences. Parents’ perception of their experience was more positive than staff perceptions of their delivery of family-centred care in hospital. Whilst the positive experience by both consumers and healthcare providers is an important finding, reasons for differences, in particular in supporting parents, require further examination.


Allied health staff, doctors, family-centred care, hospital, nurses, parents, perceptions, person-centeredness

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