Critical care nurse perceptions of family needs

P O'Malley, R Favaloro, B Anderson, M L Anderson, S Siewe, M Benson-Landau, D Deane, J Feeney, J Gmeiner, N Keefer
Heart & Lung: the Journal of Critical Care 1991, 20 (2): 189-201
Family needs research has for the most part focused on the families' perceptions when a significant other is admitted to the intensive care unit. We examined critical care nurse perceptions of family needs. The questionnaire "Needs of Families of Critically Ill Patients" was given to 126 intensive care unit nurses. The tool was an adaptation of Molter's questionnaire "Needs of Relatives of Critically Ill Patients." The revised tool examined nurse perception of family needs, perception of time available to meet the needs in daily practice, and the best professional to meet the family need if the need was identified as best met by someone other than the nurse. The majority of the nurses perceived family needs as important or very important, and 85% of the nurses indicated that they were able to meet family needs and had the time to do so. Cognitive family were ranked higher than psychologic or personal and physical needs. Nurses from the four intensive care units ranked family needs significantly differently, a result that may be influenced by differing patient acuity and patient length of stay on individual units. Nurses' perceptions of family needs were influenced by units worked, length of time practicing in critical care, educational preparation, and length of time in nursing.

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