Key Publications

Since its inception, the ILC has produced a number of key publications that have significantly advanced our aim of improving how the fundamentals of care are delivered in healthcare systems globally.


Delphi study to define fundamental care (2017)

This study sought to generate a standardised definition for fundamental care and identify the discrete elements that constitute such care, in order to refine and update the Fundamentals of Care Framework.

The definition and list of fundamentals of care developed through this study are available on the website. In keeping with the original Framework, the fundamentals are conceptualised as physical (i.e., a person’s physical needs), psychosocial (i.e., a person’s psychosocial needs) and relational (i.e., the actions on the part of the nurse that address a person’s physical and psychosocial needs). The definition and elements will inform the ILC’s ongoing work, contributing to a robust evidence base to underpin policy, education, research and practice in relation to fundamental care.


This paper was published in Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Citation: Feo, R., Conroy, T., Jangland. E., Muntlin Athlin, Å., Brovall, M., Parr, J., Blomberg, K., & Kitson, A. (2017). Towards a standardised definition for fundamental care: A modified Delphi study. Journal of Clinical Nursing. doi: 10.1111/jocn.14247. [Epub ahead of print].

Download an updated version of the Fundamentals Care Framework.

The Fundamentals of Care Framework (2013)

The Framework was created from the expertise and experience of ILC members.

The Framework outlines what is involved in the delivery of safe, effective, high-quality fundamental care. It emphasises the importance of nurses and other healthcare professionals developing positive, trusting relationships with patients and families/carers. It also emphasises the need to integrate patients’ different fundamental needs; focusing on patients’ physical needs (e.g., nutrition, mobility) also requires healthcare professionals to address patients’ psychosocial and relational needs (e.g., dignity, privacy, respect, compassion).

The Framework has continued to stand as the ILC’s position paper, and has been used in subsequent research and education activities by ILC members. The ILC continues to refine and improve the Framework to ensure it meets the needs of clinicians, educators and researchers worldwide. Read more about this here.


A copy of the Framework, published by The University of Adelaide, can be found here.

The Fundamentals of Care Framework PDF


Review of seminal nursing texts (2010)

This review explored how the fundamentals of care are understood and how they are defined. The review identified minimal consistency between nursing texts. Most texts agreed that safety, nutrition and elimination (toileting) were all fundamentals of care, but there was less agreement around whether rest/sleep, mobility, personal hygiene, comfort, pain management, privacy and dignity constituted fundamentals.

This review paper was a key catalyst for the ILC’s work around developing consistency in how we understand fundamental care; if we do not agree on what the fundamentals are, how can we ensure they are appropriately delivered to patients?


The paper was published in International Journal of Nursing Practice.

Citation: Kitson, A., Conroy, T., Wengstrom, Y., Profetto-McGrath, J., & Robertson-Malt, S. (2010). Defining the fundamentals of care. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 16, 423-434.