Therapeutic relationships. Evolution of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia model

MCN Am J Matern Child Nurs. Sep-Oct 1999;24(5):237-43. doi: 10.1097/00005721-199909000-00006.


The evolution of family-centered pediatric care coupled with the increasing complexity of healthcare environments has had a tremendous impact on the nature of relationships between nursing staff and the children and families they serve. In order to address this, in 1988 the Nursing Department at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) identified parameters for the development and maintenance of therapeutic relationships. A therapeutic relationship is an interactive relationship with a child and family that is caring, clear, boundaried, positive, and professional. It encompasses the philosophy of the institution, empowerment of the caregivers, and empowerment for families. Utilizing family-centered care as a framework for the delivery of care, this article describes the evolution of therapeutic relationships as a standard of practice including the articulation of principles, clinical examples, implications for practice, and strategies for assessment, management, and evaluation.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Family Relations*
  • Hospitals, Pediatric
  • Humans
  • Nurse-Patient Relations*
  • Patient-Centered Care*
  • Pediatric Nursing*
  • Philadelphia