Nurses' reflections on benefits and challenges of implementing familycentered care in pediatric intensive care units

Heather Coats, Erica Bourget, Helene Starks, Taryn Lindhorst, Shigeko Saiki-Craighill, J. Randall Curtis, Ross Hays, Ardith Doorenbos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Background Family-centered care is a proposed way of supporting family involvement with a child's care and decreasing distress associated with a child's critical illness by improving communication, helping manage stress and coping, and decreasing conflicts. Nurses are critical to successful implementation of family-centered care. Objectives To describe nurses' perceptions of the benefits and challenges of providing family-centered care in pediatric intensive care units. Methods Semistructured interviews of 10 bedside and charge nurses in pediatric, cardiac, and neonatal intensive care units. Questions were related to 4 domains: the intensive care unit environment and its relationship to the structure and delivery of critical care, stressors for nurses and families, communication challenges and strategies, and involvement of families in care and decision-making. Results The main thematic finding was the nurses' descriptions of a "balancing act" to provide quality family-centered care. The balancing act was characterized by the interaction between 2 types of changes: (1) intensive care unit policies related to visitation hours and family presence at the bedside and (2) physical transformations in the intensive care unit from shared open space to individual private rooms. Conclusions All of the nurses viewed the transition to family-centered care as having benefits for families. They also described how changes had created new challenges for the delivery of nursing care in intensive care units, particularly regarding mentorship and the safety of patients and staff.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-58
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Critical Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care


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