The term “family” refers to two or more persons who are related in any way—biologically, legally, or emotionally. This includes not only bonds created by marriage and blood, but also close friendships, commitments, shared households and child rearing as well as romantic attachments. Patient- and family-centred care recognizes “family” members as individuals determined by the patient, if mature and competent to make the decision, and in the case of pediatrics and young children, the patients parents or guardians.
In simplified term, patients and their families choose and determine who their “family” is and healthcare staff respect these decisions, choices, and supports. Patient and family-centred care recognizes these individuals as partners in the child’s care team when they are in the hospital, when at home, and in the community. Although healthcare practitioners are experts in diagnosis and treatment, “family” members are experts in knowing the patient and what works best for their lifestyle and situation.