Reducing family members' anxiety and uncertainty in illness around transfer from intensive care: an intervention study

Mitchell, Marion L. & Courtney, Mary D. (2004) Reducing family members' anxiety and uncertainty in illness around transfer from intensive care: an intervention study. Intensive and Critical Care Nursing, 20(4), pp. 223-231.

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Introduction: This intervention study examines anxiety and uncertainty in illness in families transferring from intensive care to a general ward. Methods: The pre-test, post-test design purposively allocated family members to a control (n = 80) and intervention group (n = 82). The intervention group experienced a structured individualised transfer method whereas the control group received existing ad hoc transfer methods. Families were surveyed before and after transfer. Results: Families’ uncertainty was significantly related to their state anxiety (P < 0.000), the relationship to the patient (P = 0.022), and the unexpected nature of patients’ admission (P < 0.000). Anxiety increased significantly with reduced social support (P = 0.002). Following transfer, anxiety reduced significantly for both groups whereas uncertainty reduced significantly for the intervention group (P = 0.03). Conclusion: Families at the time of transfer experience uncertainty and anxiety, which are significantly related in this study. The intervention significantly reduced uncertainty scores. When the family member was a parent, when admissions were unexpected, and those with fewer social supports represent potential ‘at risk’ groups whose adaptation to transfer may limit their coping ability. The structured individualised method of transfer is recommended with further research of ICU families to further examine the dimension of uncertainty and how it affects patient outcomes.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 1363
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Intensive care, Family, Education, Transfer, Uncertainty in illness, Anxiety, Admission, Family relationship, Social support
DOI: 10.1016/j.iccn.2004.05.008
ISSN: 0964-3397
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000) > Clinical Nursing - Secondary (Acute Care) (111003)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 Elsevier
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Deposited On: 20 May 2005 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:07

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