Family-Centered Care Theory: A Practice Theory

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Rodenick Navalta Agtarap, MAN, RN
Nursing Division, Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, Baguio City, Philippines


Family-centered care is a partnership approach in health care decision-making between the family and multidisciplinary health care team. On the other hand, family conference is defined as a meeting, a process of collaboration, exchange of information, building relationship, and supporting and involving families.The purpose of this paper was to develop a practice theory to facilitate family conference program in various health care settings.


Theory synthesis of Walker and Avant(2005) was utilized by (1) specifying focal concepts to serve as anchors for the synthesized theory, (2) reviewing the literature to identify factors related to the focal concepts and to specify the nature of relationships, and (3) organizing concepts and statements into an integrated and efficient representation of the phenomena of interest. Current literature from different quantitative and qualitative research, and other published documents were included in the synthesis.


After iterative process of the synthesis process, the developed assumptions of the family-centered care theory were: family is the primary source of strength of every patient at various settings; the family influence and presence have a strong impact on the patient’s response to treatment; and family-centered care will help improve the health process in every health setting. In addition, one of the propositions considered in the theory is family-centered care moves beyond patient-clinician interaction by considering the needs of all family members. Moreover, family-centered care model was conceptualized in which health care delivery is centered on the whole family which includes a partnership approach through negotiation, trust, respect and building therapeutic relationship between multidisciplinary health care team, family members and the patient.


The shifting from client-centeredness to family-centeredness in the care is initiated by the recognition of the significance of treating the patient in the context of the family. Hence, the family-centered care theory considers every patient and the family with equal dignity and respect, regardless of race, ethnicity, and cultural background that promotes the recognition of diversity and individual choices of the family and its members.