Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Communication, Collaboration, Caring: The Three C's of Family-Centered Care

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Communication, Collaboration, Caring: The Three C's of Family-Centered Care

Article excerpt

The National Perinatal Association's policy statement defines family-centered perinatal services as "those which recognize and cultivate the strengths of families and respect their concerns, attitudes, values and ethics. This model recognizes that the efforts of health care providers support the work of families and communities who contribute the primary resources, support and dedication to their children. In a family-centered model, families and health care providers form partnerships for the purpose of developing, implementing and evaluating perinatal health services."

Family-centered care has been available since the early 1970s in many parts of the country. Although not every hospital practices family-centered care at this time, many attempt to implement some or all of its concepts.

Family-centered concepts

Perinatal outcomes can be improved by addressing all aspects of perinatal health, including the medical, emotional and psychosocial needs of families and their babies. The National Perinatal Association believes that family-centered policies and practices should begin "pre conception" -- when couples are only thinking about having a baby and continue through birth and post-partum, and include the first year of the baby's life.

Communication, collaboration and caring are three of the most critical aspects of the many components of a family-centered perinatal system of care.

* Communication: families and health care providers must develop a mutual respect and understanding so they can openly exchange ideas, issues and concerns with each other.

* Collaboration: families and health care providers must work together to support informed decision-making. This process emphasizes the family's unique knowledge of their priorities and what could be the consequences of their choices and actions on the family unit, while also recognizing the special professional expertise of the health care providers. …

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