The experiences of nurse in providing psychosocial support to families of critically ill trauma patients in the intensive care unit

Petra Brysiewicz, Busisiwe Rosemary Bhengu


Background: Critically injured trauma patients are often admitted to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), which can be a very unfamiliar and intimidating environment for their families. Health organizations have a responsibility to foster an environment that protects the physical and emotional health of the severely stressed family members who assemble in their facilities1.
Purpose: The purpose of the research was to explore the experiences of ICU nurses in providing psychosocial support to families of critically ill trauma patients.
Research approach: Using an interpretive hermeneutic phenomenological approach, two semi-structured interviews were conducted with each participant to explore their experiences of providing psychological support to families in ICU. The study was conducted in the surgical ICUs of 2 private hospitals and 1 public hospital in the Durban metro area.
Findings: There were four main themes which emerged from the data namely; cultural awareness, communication challenges, providing assistance and lack of training.
Conclusion: These findings provide implications for practice that, if applied, would improve the ICU experience for both the nursing staff and the families they support.

Authors' affiliations

Petra Brysiewicz, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Busisiwe Rosemary Bhengu, University of KwaZulu-Natal

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Intensive Care Unit (ICU); trauma patient; families; psychosocial support

Cite this article

Southern African Journal of Critical Care 2010;26(2):42.

Article History

Date submitted: 2010-06-29
Date published: 2010-11-24

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