The needs of family members of intensive care unit patients: A grounded theory study

Jennifer de beer, Petra Brysiewicz


Background. The unexpected admission of a loved one to an intensive care unit (ICU) may have a negative effect on the everyday lives of
family members, as they have had little time to adjust. Hence, it is imperative for healthcare professionals to promote optimal outcomes for
both the patient and family members during admission for critical illness.
Objective. To explore and describe the needs of families during critical illness and to develop methods to provide family care during a critical
illness of a loved one.
Methods. The Strauss and Corbin grounded theory approach was used. In-depth interviews with 16 intensive care nurses, 6 doctors and 9
family members in private and public settings were completed.
Results. Five codes emerged using the characteristic coding in grounded theory. These were identified as information sharing; reassurance;
striving for consolation; garnering of resources; and cultural and religious co-operation.
Conclusion. This study elicited the needs of family members of ICU patients. Methods tailored around these needs were presented to support
family members during a critical illness.

Authors' affiliations

Jennifer de beer, Critical Care Nursing, School of Nursing, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa;College of Nursing- Jeddah , King Saud bin Abdul Aziz University for Health Sciences, Saudi Arabia

Petra Brysiewicz, Emergency and Critical Care Nursing, School of Nursing, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

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family, family care, critical illness, critical care

Cite this article

Southern African Journal of Critical Care 2016;32(2):44. DOI:10.7196/SAJCC.2016.v32i2.298

Article History

Date submitted: 2016-08-28
Date published: 2016-11-10

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