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Measuring family-centred care: working with children and their parents in two second level hospitals in Australia

Linda Shields, Abdulla A Mamun, Kirsty Flood, Shane Combs


Rationale and aim: As a model of care, family-centred care (FCC) is ubiquitous in paediatrics. In a previous study we demonstrated the attitudes of health professionals in a tertiary children’s hospital towards when working with children and with their parents. This present study replicates that project in two second-level hospitals.

Method: We used a validated questionnaire with two scores, one for working with children and one for working with parents. We examined demographic characteristics and compared responses from a randomized sample of nurses, doctors, allied health staff and ancillary workers. We compared means and medians of scores given to working with children and working with parents, 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: Participants gave significantly more positive scores for working with children than parents. These were influenced by level of education, whether respondents were parents themselves, the time they had worked in their respective occupations, if they had worked with children for a long time and held a paediatric qualification.

Conclusions: Staff in two similar second level hospitals experienced working with children in a more positive light than working with their parents. We argue that if FCC was being implemented effectively, there would be no observable difference between working with children or their parents.


Children, conceptual basis, effectiveness, empirical evidence, family-centred care, health services research, implementation, parents, person-centered healthcare, policy

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