Do perceptions of family-centered care differ in older and younger family/caregivers of U.S. veterans?

Sherri L. LaVela*, Stephanie Turcios, Alex Malhiot, Bella Etingen, Jennifer N. Hill, Scott Miskevics

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Introduction: Family-centered care (FCC) involves partnering with patients and family/caregivers ("caregivers"), engaging them in decisions, and providing support. FCC may be measured across 3 dimensions: respect, collaboration, and support and needs likely vary by caregiver age. The objective was to examine and compare caregiver perceptions of FCC by age. Method: We mailed surveys to family/caregivers of Veterans. We collected demographics and measured respect, collaboration, and support using the Family-Centered Care Survey (FCCS). We calculated mean values and conducted bivariate comparisons, dichotomized by caregiver age (≥60 vs. <60), of demographics and FCC constructs. We completed thematic analysis on open-ended text. Results: Caregivers (n = 2,111) aged <60 versus <60 were more likely to be spouses (81% vs. 62%, p < .0001) and White (74% vs. 50%, p < .0001). Overall FCC subscales values were high: respect (3.30), collaboration (3.07), and support (2.99). Older caregivers reported higher respect (3.36 vs. 3.22, p < .001), collaboration (3.12 vs. 2.98, p < .0001), and support (3.06 vs. 2.88, p < .0001). Qualitative analysis revealed collaboration, communication, hospital climate, and physical environment as important to FCC and supplemented quantitative findings on age. Examples highlighted both positive perceptions of FCC and areas of concern, such as feeling "unheard" and "like I am bothering providers," and needing "more comfortable seating" and "better parking." Discussion: Caregivers perceived high FCC levels at VA facilities, reporting highest on respect and lowest on support. Older caregivers perceived better FCC compared with younger caregivers. Several concerns identified can be used to target improvements to FCC including: improved support, collaboration between patient/ family/provider, and climate/environmental enhancements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-149
Number of pages14
JournalFamilies, Systems and Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016


  • Caregivers
  • Collaboration
  • Family-centered care
  • Health care delivery
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Applied Psychology


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