Acute care nurses' views on family participation and collaboration in fundamental care

J Clin Nurs. 2018 Jun;27(11-12):2346-2359. doi: 10.1111/jocn.14185. Epub 2018 Jan 11.


Aims and objectives: To understand the beliefs, attitudes and perceptions of nurses regarding family participation and collaboration in the care of their hospitalized adult relative.

Background: Family participation in care is known to enhance the quality of patient care. Nurses are uniquely placed to support such participation, including the delivery of fundamental care. However, nurses' attitudes and beliefs may help or hinder participation.

Design: A mixed methods approach with an exploratory sequential design was used.

Setting: A regional referral hospital in Australia.

Participants: Nurses were eligible to participate in the study if they were permanent staff of the hospital, and who in their day-to-day work had direct contact with adult patients and their families on acute care wards.

Methods: Observer-as-participant observation data and semi-structured interviews were undertaken. 30 hr of observational data were gathered, and 14 nurses were interviewed. Data collection occurred between September and December 2016. Following separate analysis, data were triangulated.

Results: Analysis uncovered two contrasting categories: (i) enacting family participation (four themes); and (ii) hindering family participation (five themes).

Conclusion: The findings of our study demonstrated that the practices of nurses do not always align with healthcare policies, and strategies to support nurses to enact patient- and family-centred practices are needed.

Relevance to clinical practice: Nurses can use these findings to make informed evidence-based changes to the way they practice and communicate with families to ensure fundamental care is delivered.

Keywords: acute care; attitudes; family; family-centred care; nursing; patient-centred care.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Australia
  • Critical Care / methods*
  • Family*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Patient-Centered Care / methods
  • Patient-Centered Care / organization & administration
  • Professional-Family Relations*