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Keywords:

  • empowerment;
  • facilitation;
  • family-centred care;
  • nurses;
  • parents;
  • partnership

Aims and objectives.  To examine the attitudes of parents and nurses to the model of care delivery on an in-patient children's unit in a regional general hospital.

Background.  A review of the literature uncovered research studies relevant to the area under investigation, in addition to many discussion articles.

Method.  This descriptive survey of parents’ and nurses’ attitudes regarding the implementation and practice of a partnership approach to care was undertaken in 2003 on a children's unit in an Irish regional general hospital. The survey consisted of a self-designed questionnaire, which was posted to the sample. The scoring system for the questionnaire format was analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (version 11.0). The sample consisted of parents (n = 100) and nursing staff (n = 44) from the children's unit.

Results.  the findings did not suggest major differences between the attitudes of the two groups on the care delivery on the unit. The outcomes of the study showed that, while both parents and nurses viewed family-centred care as appropriate, there were differences between what parents and nurses saw as their roles on the unit. Both groups acknowledged the overall philosophy of care and commented on the actual application of a family-centred, partnership approach to care in practice on the unit.

Conclusions.  Both groups agreed that there was a need for improvement of the facilities for resident parents on the unit.

Relevance to clinical practice.  The findings of the research could act as a catalyst for change and development of the service and service providers. It is hoped that it will also contribute to the improved satisfaction of the service provided to sick children and their families by parents and by the nurses who provide the care.