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Title: Surviving a critical illness through mutually being there with each other : a grounded theory study
Authors: Chiang, VCL 
Issue Date: Dec-2011
Source: Intensive and critical care nursing, Dec. 2011, v. 27, no. 6, p. 317-330
Abstract: Objectives: The objectives of this study were to conduct a theoretical analysis of the critically ill patients’ perceptions of the impact of informal support and care from their main family carer (MFC) during the time of their stay in the hospital (ICU) and thereafter (and vice versa).
Research design and setting: The grounded theory method was used to investigate the target phenomenon in the ICU of a large general hospital, and three months later in the community after the patients were discharged. Qualitative data were collected through participant observation and interviews for constant comparative analysis until theoretical saturation.
Results: A substantive theory emerged and it illustrated and described the dynamic actions and interactions between critically ill patients and their MFC during the process of recovery. Three categories, 1) being there with, 2) coping and 3) self-relying, comprise the essential components of this theory.
Conclusion: The theory represents the core process of ‘surviving a critical illness through mutually being there with each other’ in which both the patients and their MFC are involved. Implications and recommendations were proposed to provide a basis for further research and nursing practice on the phenomenon of informal support and care of critically ill patients and their recovery.
Keywords: Critical illness
Family carers
Informal support
Vulnerable population
Publisher: Elsevier
Journal: Intensive and critical care nursing 
ISSN: 0964-3397
DOI: 10.1016/j.iccn.2011.09.001
Rights: Intensive and critical care nursing © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. The journal web site is located at
NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Intensive and critical care nursing. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Intensive and critical care nursing, vol. 27, no. 6 (Dec 2011), DOI: 10.1016/j.iccn.2011.09.001
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