The purpose of this study was to describe how adult patients undergoing emergency surgery experience family centredness in perioperative nursing practice. The central aim was to generate knowledge to be used while developing the practice, education and management of perioperative nursing. Data were collected using a questionnaire with emergency surgical patients in five regional hospitals in Southern Finland. The number of distributed questionnaires was 132. The response rate was 85% (n = 112). The results were mainly described as frequencies and percentages. The open-ended sections of the answers were analysed using qualitative content analysis. The findings from the open-ended questions were used for deepening and complementing the quantitative description of the results. In the preoperative phase, ascertaining the family situation and informing the family member chosen by the patient were not achieved systematically. Family situation was also rarely examined in the intraoperative and postoperative phases, although it is central to coping after surgery, especially in home care. The results support the view of earlier research about the importance of individuality of patients and their families during the perioperative care process and hence enhance the endeavour to develop nursing based on families' real needs.