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bereaved fathers, family-centered care, pediatric healthcare providers' behaviors



  1. Davies, Betty PhD, RN, FAAN
  2. Baird, Jennifer MSW, RN
  3. Gudmundsdottir, Maria PhD, RN


This article describes the key behaviors of "excellent" pediatric healthcare providers, a term used by fathers of children with complex, life-threatening illness to describe providers who consistently and effectively engage in family-centered care for children and their families. Using interview data from a multisite grounded theory study of 60 fathers with a deceased child, five behaviors were identified: getting to know the family as individuals, talking about non-healthcare-related topics, connecting in a human-human relationship, including parents as team members, and applying specialized knowledge to help the family. These behaviors are consistent with the goals of family-centered care, but they are inconsistently practiced, resulting in less-than-optimal care for children and their families during periods of crisis and vulnerability. A renewed focus on relationship building and interactions with families is needed, as well as a reevaluation of the training of pediatric healthcare providers.