Families of patients in adult critical care are susceptible to physiological symptoms, emotional distress, persuasion, burden, and postintensive care syndrome—family, as defined by the Society of Critical Care Medicine. The specific aims of this article are to (1) describe the state of science about the concept of vulnerability of families of patients in adult critical care, through analysis and synthesis of relevant literature; (2) explore resources available to reduce or prevent vulnerability of this population; and (3) propose considerations for research with this population. Concept analysis and synthesis strategies support the definition of this concept through review of the literature to describe antecedents, defining characteristics, and consequences of the vulnerability of families of patients in adult critical care. The authors present resources for both families and health care professionals and recommendations for potential collaborative efforts that could reduce risks and promote the health of this vulnerable population.

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