An acute injury in which a family member requires critical care creates a period of intense stress for families. During such time, family members are often faced with decisions about the patient or the family. The ability of families to make decisions during this stressful period is not addressed in the literature. The purpose of this study was to determine what decisions families made in the one-month period after a patient’s admission. Families of patients with severe head injury were chosen because these families are often forced to make decisions quickly and to act as proxy decision-makers for the injured person. Nurses can make important contributions to assist family members in making decisions about the patient or the family. Nurses need to understand what decisions family members need to make and the circumstances surrounding the decision-making process to intervene appropriately

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