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Hospitalization and Family Presence

  • By: Terry Griffin & Marie Abraham
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Hospitalized individuals are particularly dependent on their families for emotional support and assistance in decision making and care. Historically, the family's role has been limited by hospital policies and practices. Institutional policies have guided the definition of family, restricted the times when the patient's family could be present, restricted the number of people who can be present, and limited the role for families in care and decision-making activities.

Over the last several decades, there has been a philosophical change facilitating a shift away from system-centered care toward patient- and family-centered care, where patients and families are viewed as allies in enhancing the quality and safety of care. In this context, families are no longer viewed as “visitors” but are welcomed as partners in care planning and ...

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