Southern African Journal of Critical Care

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Family-centred practices of healthcare professionals in three emergency departments in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

W Emmamally, P Brysiewicz


Background. Emergency healthcare professionals can practise family-centred care (FCC) by engaging in active partnerships with families. In a chaotic environment, which challenges communication and supportive behaviours, responding to and acknowledging families’ individuality enhance positive family outcomes.

Objective. To describe the adherence of emergency healthcare professionals to family-centred practices in some emergency departments in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Methods. A quantitative survey was conducted among healthcare professionals in three emergency departments. A previously published checklist was used to collect data on adherence to relational and participatory family-centred practices.

Results. A total of 77 completed questionnaires were received from the 79 participants surveyed, giving a response rate of 97.5%. Analysis showed that healthcare professionals endeavour to practise FCC, but that their implementation of practice indicators of family-centred care is inconsistent. Results suggested that healthcare professionals used relational practices to a larger extent than participatory practices.

Conclusion. In the emergency department, collaboration and partnering with families should be emphasised to ensure that principles of FCC are practised as a standard.

Keywords. Family, health care professionals, emergency department, relational practices, participatory practices
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