Engaging family members in care coordination strengthens social support for the patient. Empowering the family or caregiver as a member of the care team also provides support to the care coordinator. Patients with chronic conditions, including children, often seek support and medical guidance from family and other support networks. Family involvement is especially important in care coordination programs that serve children, particularly children with special health care needs. Successful care coordination programs should make sure to connect with the patient as well as any support networks when possible.
The needs of a family must be considered when developing plans for coordinating care. In addition, family members involved in caring for a patient should work with the care coordinator to be part of the decision-making process. Involving families in decision-making and treatment plans can reinforce decisions regarding the patient's care. In some cases it might help to have a formal, written care plan to ensure a common understanding of treatment plans and goals by all members of the care team as well as the patient and family. For patients who live at home with family members, including everyone in the care process can promote adherence to treatment plans.