Theory Guided Practice and Family-Centered Care


Family-centered care is a clinical practice that is aimed at involving the patients in the decision-making of the choice of care. This means that nurses collaborate with the patient and the family members to plan, deliver and evaluate health care. This practice has been championed by many organizations because it ensures that patients are involved in the treatment and recovery process (Ho, 2020). Scholars show that family-centered care can aid the recovery of the patient because it provides reassurances to patients and their families (Ho, 2020). This paper will explain how the theory of goal attainment is suited to explain the practice of family-centered care.

Family-Centered Care

Family-centered care can be defined as a model which provides health services to patients through partnerships that show respect to the family and children. The practice aims to improve the experiences of patients and family members by reducing stress and maintaining effective communication (Ho, 2020). Additionally, the model provides care that limits the possibilities of lawsuits. Family-based care also focuses on the health of other family members and ensures that their wellbeing is improved. For example, for a patient whose children suffer from chronic conditions, the nurses have to ensure they assist the children. The support has to be aimed at improving their condition.

An essential part of family-centered care is communication because the aim is to help the patient to choose the best service. The nurses help the patient to identify the objectives of the care plan and the expected outcome (Ho, 2020). This information is shared with the individual family members separately and in other cases the family as a whole. Effective communication assists in the interactions between family members and nurses (Ho, 2020). The nurse has to understand the family’s values, culture and beliefs before providing solutions. This is because of the complexity of different cultures, beliefs, and values.

Theory of Goal Attainment

Clinical Practice

Family-centered care is intended on achieving the goals and objectives set out by the patient and family members in collaboration with the nurse. To achieve the goals, the people involved have to interact, communicate and transact. Additionally, decisions have to be made with the involved parties making sure to prevent stress and power struggles (Wong et al., 2017). The theory provides guidelines on how nurses can provide care to patients and their families in a humane way. The emphasis is on communication because it is the main component of delivering care. Thus, the focus on patient’s health care goals was instrumental in choosing the theory of goal attainment.

Origin of the Theory

The theory of goal attainment was introduced in 1971 by Imogene King. The theory notes that nurses are viewed as essential components of the patient’s environment. One of the objectives of the theory is to reduce stress when administering care to patients (Wong et al., 2017). This purpose is evident in family-centered care where nurses are encouraged to act in ways that reduce stress for patients. The theory views the environment as an important aspect of human interactions. Therefore, the theory was developed to emphasize the importance of the environment and interactions between patients and nurses.


There are different paradigms in healthcare provision that include person, environment, health, and nursing. The paradigms of focus, in this case, are person, environment, and nursing. With these paradigms, the most effective theory is the theory of goal attainment. This is because the theory also focuses on the way the environment, nurse, and patient relate. In family-centered care, the environment can be external or internal depending on certain situations. Nurses are required to help patients choose the right environment to receive care.

Simplicity and Understandability

The goal attainment theory is simple in the way it was developed. The theory touches on family-centered care and provides guidelines on how to apply the concepts. The theory has three frameworks which are individual, interpersonal, and social systems (Wong et al., 2017). Of the three systems, the interpersonal systems were categorized as the foundation of the theory (Wong et al., 2017). The three concepts are well defined and contain clear information on the area of nursing. Also, the theory is focused on the outcomes of health care and the interactions between people. Therefore, the theory was identified to be simple and easy to understand because it has three concepts that are well described.

Patients’ needs

The patient’s needs in family-centered care are diverse and the theory can be applied to identify all the needs. The theory notes that nurses have to interact with patients to understand their needs. In family-centered care, different family members may need access to varying health care services. It is the work of the nurse to work with the family to identify the needs that are central to the family. This can be done by scheduling meetings with the family members and engaging them in a conversation provision (Adib-Hajbaghery & Tahmouresi, 2018). Communication between patients and nurses should be respectful and focused on health care.

Why the Theory Is Well Suited to Family-Centered Care

The theory of goal attainment notes that human beings connect with other people through language. This makes communication an important aspect of health care provision because nurses have to learn about patients’ beliefs, actions, customs, and thoughts provision (Adib-Hajbaghery & Tahmouresi, 2018). Family-centered care is aimed at helping patients identify the right health care services. This is made possible through effective communication between the nurse, patient, and family members. The nurses have to make an effort to understand the patient and help them make better decisions. Also, the theory emphasizes the importance of the environment in health care provision (Adib-Hajbaghery & Tahmouresi, 2018). The environment facilitates interactions between the nurse, patient, and family members.

The goal attainment theory views nursing as a process of action, reaction, and interaction. Nurses and patients share the information which helps in decision making. Family-centered care was introduced to provide patients with the ability to make decisions on the choice of health care they receive. The nurse provides the patient with information on the different options that are available and assists the patient to make a decision. This theory provides insight into how the practice of family-centered care can be enhanced.


Family-centered care is an important clinical practice that has changed nursing. The practice involves helping patients to make better choices concerning health care provision. Nurses are required to share information with patients using evidence-based practices for family-centered care. Effective communication is necessary to enable a patient to make the best decision. The goal attainment theory can provide a guide to nurses on how to structure family-based care. The theory focuses on the outcomes of the process of health care provision. Therefore, the theory suits the practice of family-centered care which also focuses on achieving the patient’s health care goals.


Adib-Hajbaghery, M., & Tahmouresi, M. (2018). Nurse-patient relationship based on Imogene King’s theory of goal attainment. Nursing and Midwifery Studies, 7(3), 141-144. Web.

Ho, A. (2020). Taking family-centered care seriously. The American Journal of Bioethics, 20(6), 65-67. Web.

Wong, E., Tschan, F., & Semmer, N. K. (2017). Effort in emotion work and well-being: The role of goal attainment. Emotion, 17(1), 67. Web.

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NursingBird. 2022. "Theory Guided Practice and Family-Centered Care." August 13, 2022.

1. NursingBird. "Theory Guided Practice and Family-Centered Care." August 13, 2022.


NursingBird. "Theory Guided Practice and Family-Centered Care." August 13, 2022.