Perceived changes in adult family members' roles and responsibilities during critical illness

S. K. Johnson
M. Craft
M. Titler
M. Halm
Charmaine Kleiber, University of Iowa
L. A. Montgomery
K. Megivern
A. Nicholson
Kathleen C. Buckwalter, University of iowa


An exploratory design was used to study the effects of critical care hospitalization on family roles and responsibilities of adult family members and how these effects changed over time. A convenience sample of 52 subjects from pediatric, neonatal, surgical, medical, and cardiovascular intensive care units was used. Data were collected using an open-ended question contained in the Iowa ICU Family Scale (IIFS). Using qualitative techniques, seven themes were identified: (a) Pulling together, (b) Fragmentation of families, (c) Increased dependence, (d) Increased independence, (e) Increased responsibilities, (f) Change in routine, and (g) Change in feelings. These findings indicate that nurses need to implement family-centered interventions such as role supplementation programs or identification of support systems to decrease role strain and role overload in families during a crisis.

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