Background: Previous work on physicians’ family approach has identified as “the Levels of Family Involvement (LFI) model” (e.g., Doherty and Baird). We also investigated frequency of each level on Japanese family physicians and nurses, but we found that they displayed lower levels of involvement than the previous work had suggested. This paper used a qualitative research method to focus on the various family approaches by Japanese general physicians.
Methods: Ten general physicians took part in a focus group discussion about attitudes to the family approach. To establish the trustworthiness of this research, we applied the four standards of credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability.
Findings: We found five phases in the perception and practice of the family approach, ranging from the practice of basic clinical skills and a simple recognition of the effect of the family on the patient, to higher stages of practice involving the recognition of the family as a coherent unit. Participants also identified two distinct stages of practice of the family approach: a haphazard or inconsistent approach, and a more systematic family approach.
Conclusions: Application of the family approach in the context of general practice in Japan is mediated through different phases and stages.
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