More research is needed to assess and address all areas of concern to family members. Options such as family discussion groups, patient-family or psychiatric liaison nurses, or clinical nurse specialist involvement might be used to improve family care and coping. Family perceptions of important needs warrant further research, and nursing interventions such as orientation-education programs, descriptive visitor pamphlets, nurse-family interaction sessions, and open or flexible visiting policies need additional investigation. It is only through continued assessment, evaluation, and intervention that critical care nurses can achieve total care for the ICU patient and family.

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