INTRODUCTION: The receiving information about the patients hospitalized in the intensive care unit is classified among the most important needs of the family members of such patients. Meeting the informational needs of families is a major goal for intensive care workers. Delivering honest, intelligible and effective information raises specific challenges in the stressful setting of the intensive care unit (ICU). The aim of this qualitative study was to explain perspectives of families of Intensive Care Unit patients and nurses about informational support.
METHOD: Using a conventional content analysis approach, semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants to explore their perspectives of providing informational support to families of ICU patients. A purposeful sampling method was used to recruit nineteen family members of thirteen patients hospitalized in the ICU and twelve nurses from three teaching hospitals. In general, 31 persons participated in this study. Data collection continued to achieve data saturation.
FINDINGS: A conventional content analysis of the data produced three categories and seven sub-categories. The three main categories were as followed, a) providing information, b) handling information and c) using information. Providing information had three sub-categories consisting of "receiving admission news", "receiving truthful and complete information" and receiving general information. Handling information had two sub-categories consisting "keeping information" and "gradual revelation". Lastly, using information has two sub-categories consisting of "support of patient" and "support of family members".
CONCLUSION: The results of this study revealed perspectives of families of Intensive Care Unit patients and nurses about informational support. It also determines the nurses' need to know more about the influence of their supportive role on family's ICU patients informing. In addition, the results of present study can be used as a basis for further studies and for offering guidelines about informational support to the families of the patients hospitalized in the ICU.