In its 2012 policy statement entitled, "Patient- and Family-Centered Care and the Pediatrician's Role", the AAP acknowledges that the family is the child's primary source of strength and support. Families have expertise when it comes to their own children, and bring unique perspectives and information that make them integral partners of the health care team.
Research shows that patient- and family-centered care leads to better health outcomes, wiser allocation of resources, and greater patient and family satisfaction.
Several of the core principles of family centered care include:
- Listen to and respect a child and family, and incorporate the family's cultural background and experience into care delivery.
- Ensure enough flexibility in the practice's policies, procedures, and practices to allow care to be tailored to patient and family culture and beliefs.
- Provide complete, honest information to patients and families as often as they desire and in ways that are easily understandable so they can participate in decision making.
- Collaborate with patients and families in all levels of health care; from their own care, to evaluating the practice, to serving on a practice's advisory council.
Patients and families should be considered an integral part of the health care team, and respect should be conveyed for families' insights and understanding into their child's behavior and needs. Pediatricians should share information with and promote a child's participation in their own health care, taking the child's developmental capacity into consideration. For example, adolescents and young adults should play an active role in decision making and also have a right to privacy.
Opportunities to enhance patient and family centered care at the practice level include:
- Create a variety of ways for children and families to provide their feedback and advice on the practice and how to make the patient experience more family-centered
- Provide education and training about family-centered care to all clinical and non-clinical members of the practice team.
- Provide opportunities and encourage peer-to-peer support and networking for families in the practice