[Needs of the family in the intensive care units: a review of the literature].

Research paper by M I MI Pardavila Belio, C G CG Vivar

Indexed on: 22 Jul '11Published on: 22 Jul '11Published in: Enfermería Intensiva


Admission to the Intensive Care Units (ICU) is perceived by both patients and their family as a stressful experience. This situation can cause shock, skepticism and anxiety in the patient's setting.To analyze and present the needs of the family members of the critical patient.A review was made of the literature in the following data bases: Pubmed, CINAHL, Cuiden and Cochrane Library. Furthermore, three journals specialized in Intensive Cares were reviewed.After including the articles that met the screening criteria, 30 articles were finally selected. Of these, 11 were reviews of the literature, 7 qualitative studies and 12 more were quantitative investigations. Four groups of needs in the families were identified after the analysis of these articles, these being cognitive, emotional, social and practical.One of the main needs of the family is to receive better information from the professionals followed by the need for closeness with the ill family member. This review proposes that, in order to cover these needs, the information should be protocolized and the visiting hours should be made flexible. Furthermore, incorporation of two familial evaluation tools, the genogram and ecomap, is proposed.This work has revealed the importance of having the Intensive Care nurses identify the needs of the family during the admission of the patient in the ICU in order to be able to provide help, support and counseling care that relieves the suffering of the families.