Family members' lived experience in the intensive care unit: a phemenological study.
AffiliationIntensive Care Unit, Mercy University Hospital, Cork, Ireland., firstname.lastname@example.org
*Intensive Care Units
MetadataShow full item record
CitationIntensive Crit Care Nurs. 2010 Oct;26(5):254-61. Epub 2010 Jul 31.
JournalIntensive & critical care nursing : the official journal of the British, Association of Critical Care Nurses
AbstractAIM: To describe the lived experience of family members of patients in the intensive care unit. BACKGROUND: Admission of a critically ill relative to an intensive care unit causes anxiety and stress to family members. Nursing care is initially focused on maintaining the physiological stability of the patient and less on the needs and concerns of family members. Understanding how families make sense of this experience may help nurses focus on the delivery of family centred care. METHODOLOGY: A phenomenological method was used to describe the lived experiences of family members of patients in an intensive care unit. In-depth interviews were conducted with six family members and analysed using qualitative thematic analysis. RESULTS: Four main themes emerged from the data: the need to know, making sense of it all, being there with them and caring and support. Family members needed honest information about the patient's progress and outcome to make the situation more bearable for them. Making sense of the situation was a continuous process which involved tracking and evaluating care given. Being with their relative sustained their family bond and was a way to demonstrate love and support. Caring reassurance provided by the nurses enabled a sense of security. Support was needed by family members to assist them in coping. CONCLUSION: The research provided an insight into how family members viewed the impact of the admission and how they subsequently found ways of dealing with the situation. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Using a holistic approach to nursing assessment and care delivery in intensive care necessitates that nurses interact with and care for family members of patients. Development of a philosophy of family centred care is necessary, with formal assessment of families to take place soon after admission and an appropriate plan of care drawn up at this time.
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