Legal Considerations in Paediatric Patient and Family-Centred Health Care

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Source Publication

Shaul, R. Zlotnick, ed. Paediatric and Family-Centred Care. New York: Springer, 2014.


Pediatrics--Law and legislation; Parent and child (Law); Medical care--Law and legislation


Paediatric patient and family-centred care is both facilitated and constrained by law. This chapter traces some of the ways in which law both affirms and limits this model of caregiving. It outlines the legal framework in which patients, parents, healthcare providers and health facilities function. It explains the extent of and limits on parents’ authority when making decisions about their child’s treatment, as well as healthcare professionals’ and health facilities’ responsibilities, and when the state will intervene. It explores what is meant by making decisions in the “best interests” of a child. Turning from decision-making about care to how care is actually provided, the chapter assesses the legal issues that may be raised when responsibility for care is shared or delegated to parents, family members, or the patient. It reviews key considerations to ensure continued delivery of safe, quality healthcare. It concludes that although the legal frameworks governing healthcare were not developed with this model of caregiving in mind, the law can certainly accommodate and encourage its development.

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