n Southern African Journal of Critical Care - The experiences of nurses in providing psychosocial support to families of critically ill trauma patients in intensive care units - a study in the Durban metropolitan area

Volume 26, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1562-8264
  • E-ISSN: 2078-676X



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 organisations have a responsibility to foster an environment that protects the physical and emotional health of the severely stressed family members who assemble in their facilities.

The purpose of the research was to explore the experiences of ICU nurses in providing psychosocial support to families of critically ill trauma patients.
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 of ICU patients. The study was conducted in the surgical ICUs of two private hospitals and one public hospital in the Durban metropolitan area.
Four main themes emerged from the data: cultural awareness, communication challenges, providing assistance, and lack of training.
These findings provide implications for practice that, if applied, would improve the ICU experience for both the nursing staff and the families they support.

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