The article explores how parents are included and excluded in the care of hospitalized children and examines the inclusion/exclusion practices by the ideology of human needs.

Method: Interviews with parents/nurses, observations of parents/nurses/children in a Norwegian children’s ward; the material is analyzed in the extension of Henderson’s and Orem’s ideas on human needs.

Result: Parents performed a major part of the work to take care of basic nursing and care tasks. They had also a central role in the performing of a variety of medical procedures, although the nurse was primarily responsible. Parents were only relieved when the nurse had time.

Conclusion: Parents performed most of the care and contributed to medical treatment. These practices were usually in harmony with the parents’ need to be with their children.

Keywords: children, exclusion, hospital, inclusion, parents