The Fundamentals of Care

The ILC is committed to developing and implementing the best available research evidence on fundamental care. Key to this work is developing agreement on a definition for fundamental care and the different activities that constitute such care. The Fundamentals of Care Framework was a key catalyst in achieving this goal.

Subsequent work has been undertaken to test, refine and implement the Framework. This includes a collaborative research project involving ILC members from Australia, Sweden and New Zealand to develop a working definition for fundamental care a list of activities that constitute such care:

Working definition

Fundamental care involves actions on the part of the nurse that respect and focus on a person’s essential needs to ensure their physical and psychosocial wellbeing. These needs are met by developing a positive and trusting relationship with the person being cared for as well as their family/carers.

The Fundamentals of Care

Physical fundamentals of care

  • Personal cleansing (including oral/mouth care) and dressing
  • Toileting needs
  • Eating and drinking
  • Rest and sleep
  • Mobility
  • Comfort (pain management, breathing easily, temperature control)
  • Safety (risk assessment & management, infection prevention, minimising complications)
  • Medication management

Psychosocial fundamentals of care

  • Communication (verbal and non-verbal)
  • Being involved and informed
  • Privacy
  • Dignity
  • Respect
  • Education and information
  • Emotional wellbeing
  • Choice
  • Having values and beliefs considered and respected
  • Social engagement, company and support
  • Feeling able to express opinions and needs without care being compromised
  • Having interests and priorities considered and accommodated (where possible)

Relational fundamentals of care

  • Active listening
  • Empathy
  • Engaging with patients
  • Compassion
  • Being present and with patients
  • Supporting and involving families and carers
  • Helping patients to cope
  • Working with patients to set, achieve and evaluate progression of goals
  • Helping patients to stay calm