Vasey, Jackie (2010) Tokenism or true partnership: a child's acute pain care and a family centred culture. In: Personal and Public Lives: Exploring Relationships, Roles, and Responsibilities: An international and interdisciplinary conference, 7th - 9th September 2010, University of Huddersfield, UK. (Unpublished)

Tokenism or true partnership: To what extent is parental involvement in the child’s acute pain care facilitated by nurses within a culture of family centred care in general children’s wards?
Family centred care is claimed to be established and thriving in child nursing areas. (Smith & Coleman, 2010). Few would dispute this. Particularly when taking into consideration historical accounts of children being dropped off at the hospital door and collected days, weeks or months later by their parents, not having see them throughout their hospital stay.

National Service Frameworks (Department of Health, 2003, DH, 2004) prompted by the Bristol Enquiry (Kennedy 2001) have highlighted the importance of family involvement in decision making, whilst the Royal College of Nursing (2009) advocate family involvement in the child’s pain care. Despite this, parental involvement specifically in relation to their child’s pain care, is rarely the focus of research studies.

This paper aims to discuss the positive and negative aspects of family centred care and attempt to understand the complex relationship between nurses and parents. Fundamental questions about this relationship will focus on the extent to which this applies to pain care, control and power in the nurse-parent relationship and whether parents want to and are facilitated to be involved. The presentation will consider perceived negative aspects of family centred care such as the “parent trap” whereby parents may feel coerced or guilt driven to be involved.

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