University of Cape Town
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Care Through Family

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posted on 2023-09-05, 16:55 authored by Children's Nursing Development UnitChildren's Nursing Development Unit, Natasha North, Angela L Leonard, Candice Bonaconsa, Minette Coetzee

The Care Through Family model is a research-based approach to strengthening partnerships between nurses and family caregivers. Mothers are an important resource for hospitalised children in Africa. Many nurses know this and organise nursing care accordingly. This project worked with nurses to describe and document their practice to create an African model of nursing care for hospitalised children.

We have also published two open access articles describing the research that underpins the model:

  • North N, Leonard A, Bonaconsa C, Duma T, Coetzee M. (2020). Distinctive nursing practices in working with mothers to care for hospitalised children at a district hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: a descriptive observational study. BMC Nursing.
  • North N, Sieberhagen S, Bonaconsa C, Leonard A, Coetzee M. (2019). Making children’s nursing practices visible: using visual and participatory techniques to describe family involvement in the care of hospitalised children in southern African settings. International Journal of Qualitative Research Methods.

In this textbook chapter, we present the model alongside a case study of the Breatheasy Programme pioneered by Sr Jane Booth at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town. This programme makes it possible for children with tracheostomies in South Africa to be cared for at home with their families and is one of the case studies that informed development of the Care Through Family model:

North N and Coetzee M. (2023). Breatheasy: a Nurse-led ‘Care Through Family’ Service Model. Chapter in Worldwide Successful Pediatric Nurse-Led Models of Care. Springer Nature. Edited by Cecily L. Betz.


This research was supported through grants from the Vitol Foundation, the Children’s Hospital Trust and Elma Philanthropies.



The Harry Crossley Children’s Nursing Development Unit, UCT Department of Paediatrics and Child Health

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