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Relationship-Centered Care

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Relationship-centered care promotes a systems perspective, which values not only the traditional provider–patient relationship, but all other supporting and interdependent relationships, which ultimately impact the care of the patient. Within the patient–provider relationship, the patient’s agenda and emotions are fully acknowledged and negotiated, while the provider still attends to their own clinical agenda and human needs. This same negotiation process, however, must also extend across team members, leadership, and connected systems as well. In this chapter, the authors seek to explain both the theoretical framework of relationship-centered care, and illustrate the diverse tensions that can occur while fully attending to social dynamics in order to successfully accomplish the task at hand. Elevating social activity ahead of the technical strategy acknowledges the unwavering tenet that, ultimately, all work is accomplished through relationships. Thus, the quality of outcomes sought is directly contingent on the strength and quality of the relationship-building process within the system.


  • Relationship-centered care
  • Relational systems
  • Personal awareness
  • Communication skills
  • Interprofessional teams

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-46567-4_14
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Correspondence to Sheira Schlair .

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Well, we hit our 5000 words. How do you hope and think it will land on readers?


I hope that what we wrote about resonates with them and even touches them. I would hope that they would have a deeper appreciation for the challenge and the gift of slowing down.


Yes, and I also hope that they realize that slowing down relationally, embracing differences, and connecting authentically may actually help to accelerate identifying and meeting the goals that we’re trying to achieve in health care.


I would want a reader to walk away with a deeper appreciation for the role that we all play in a system. And to think to herself when she goes to the doctor’s office the next time, that the system is often complex and frustrating for health care professionals too. Odds are that the clinicians are likely trying their best to be an effective advocate.


And … it would be wonderful if some readers could commit to enhancing their own personal awareness, communication skills, or perhaps invite feedback as a team member or a leader. We are inherently interdependent, and therefore we are each accountable to building, repairing, sustaining relationships through effective communication practices. Only through such efforts can we create an optimal health system while mindfully relating to one another as human beings.

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Hirschmann, K., Schlair, S. (2020). Relationship-Centered Care. In: Sreeramoju, P., Weber, S., Snyder, A., Kirk, L., Reed, W., Hardy-Decuir, B. (eds) The Patient and Health Care System: Perspectives on High-Quality Care. Springer, Cham.

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