A Child's Family Should Be Integral to Health Care Team

New statement says patient- and family-centered approach is critical to pediatric care

MONDAY, Jan. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Pediatricians should ensure that collaborative relationships with patients and families are incorporated into all aspects of their professional practice, according to a policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published online Jan. 30 in Pediatrics.

Jerrold M. Eichner, M.D., and colleagues on the AAP's Committee on Hospital Care and the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care drew on literature and decades of work with families, pediatricians, other health care professionals, and policy makers to construct the statement.

The group concluded that, in pediatrics, patient- and family-centered care is based on the understanding that the family is the child's primary source of strength and support and that this approach to care recognizes that the perspectives and information provided by families and patients is essential for high-quality clinical decision-making. The policy statement outlines the core principles of patient- and family-centered care and summarizes some of the recent literature linking patient-and family-centered care to improved health outcomes. The statement concludes with recommendations on how pediatricians can integrate patient- and family-centered care in hospitals, clinics, and community settings.

"Incorporating the patient- and family-centered care concepts described in this statement into patient encounters requires additional face-to-face and coordination time by pediatricians. This time has value and is an investment in improved care, leading to better outcomes and prevention of unnecessary costs in the future," the authors write.

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