Hospitalization in a critical care setting has multiple effects on patients and their families. For patients, it can be a frightening and dehumanizing experience, while families are confronted with stressors that can disrupt normal family functioning. The nurse is the pivotal figure in the health care system who can positively affect family coping through the support offered. With family needs met, they are then strengthened and able to support their family member. This article examines the roles and relationships of families, social support systems, and nurses. Through the framework of social support, nurses provide emotional, instrumental, spiritual, and appraisal assistances to families. This can potentially positively affect the family’s adaptation to a stressful situation, and thus the family’s ability to provide support to the patient. A case study analysis is described to illustrate the interactions and interventions through a model of family support

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