The goal of patient-centered care is to see the patient and family (however the patient defines it) as a single unit. That is, care for the patient includes the family, and decisions made about patient care include the patient’s and family’s wishes. The best way to provide this type of care is to have the family present and to communicate with them in a way that is understandable. These goals sound as though they should be easily accomplished, but it is challenging to meet the needs of the patient, family, nursing staff, physicians, and other health care providers.

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