JOURNAL ARTICLE

Relatives' experiences of critical care

Felicity Hughes, Karen Bryan, Ian Robbins
Nursing in Critical Care 2005, 10 (1): 23-30
15739636
This exploratory study investigates relatives' overall experiences of the critical care environment and how staff perceived these experiences. Traditionally, research in Critical Care concentrated on patients' psychological well-being or relatives' immediate needs. There is little research that addresses the relative's overall experience of events. Critical Care Units are possibly the most daunting units in hospitals. Having a family member admitted to a Critical Care Unit could qualify as a traumatic-enough stressor to induce post-traumatic stress symptoms in relatives. A convenience sample of eight relatives and five staff participated in the study. The study used qualitative methods and drew on techniques of grounded theory. While staff perceived relatives' experiences accurately; issues arose, from both staff and relatives perspective, with regard to accurate dissemination of information. Further research into the communication processes used within Critical Care Units is required in addition to developing best practice in this area.

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