AIM: This paper is an update to a systematic review that presents the best available evidence on the factors that are most effective in promoting constructive staff-family relationships in the care of older people in the institutional healthcare setting. METHODS: Systematic review. RESULTS: The updated review supports findings from the earlier review. Additional evidence points to the importance of monitoring care, family involvement in decision-making, staff upholding the uniqueness of the older person, trust, the involvement of the multidisciplinary care team and family dynamics as factors underpinning effective staff-family relationships. CONCLUSION: A number of factors critical to the development and maintenance of positive staff-family relationships in the institutional setting have been identified. The delivery of quality care is predicated on staff having an understanding of these factors.