A conceptual framework of supportive family functions derived from a previous analysis of taped visits to coronary care unit (CCU) patients was used to analyze CCU and surgical intensive care unit (SICU) patients’ recollections about visits. The framework of family functions was supported by the patients’ recollections. However, CCU patients recall behaviors in a different order of frequency than previously described with visit transcript analysis. Both CCU and SICU patients frequently recall caring actions of the family and evaluated visits overall as helpful. Principles are proposed for nurses in assisting families and patients to cope with the critical illness episode and thus provide a supportive visiting environment for patients

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