Family-centred care in the paediatric intensive care unit: an integrative review of the literature Academic Article uri icon


  • To review extant research on family-centred care in a paediatric intensive care environment and identify gaps in the literature.Family-centred care is currently a core concept in paediatric nursing, focusing on the premise that families are central to a child's well-being, and as such, should be included as equal members of the child's healthcare team. Due to the nature of critical care, family-centred care may be challenging to implement and maintain.An integrative literature review.The review was conducted using the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, PubMed, OVID MEDLINE and Google Scholar databases, from 1990 to present. The search focused on the following terms: 'p(a)ediatric critical care', 'paediatric intensive care unit', 'family cent(e)red care', 'parental needs', 'family presence' and 'family/nurse roles'. Additionally, the search was limited to studies conducted in a developed country and published in English.Eighteen studies were included in the review. The results demonstrated that implementing family-centred care into a paediatric intensive care environment posed several challenges. The discrepancy between nurses' and parents' perception of their roles, the reluctance of medical staff to share potentially negative or rapidly changing information, restrictive family presence and poor understanding of family needs emerged as the key difficulties. No studies evaluated strategies to improve family-centred care practice.Family-centred care presents many challenges in a paediatric intensive care environment; however, nurses are uniquely positioned to foster relationships with families, encourage accurate and honest information sharing and advocate for families to be present when they choose.This review outlines the extant research to enhance awareness of the unique state of family-centred care in paediatric intensive care and makes recommendations for future research.

publication date

  • 2014