The needs of family members with a critically ill relative present a significant challenge to nursing professionals in the intensive care unit. Initially, interventions aimed at providing focused information and relieving anxiety take precedence. As the crisis period passes, however, the family may need to reestablish familiar patterns of functioning. Thus, family assessment and intervention is vital throughout the course of the patient’s hospitalization. This article examines how a medical-respiratory intensive care unit has applied family need research in designing and implementing an ongoing family-based plan of care

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