Having a loved one in the intensive care unit (ICU) can be stressful and anxiety inducing. Anxiety rates in family members of relatives in the ICU have been documented at 80%. Often family needs are not met during the ICU stay, and unmet needs can contribute to increased anxiety. Higher anxiety levels in family members have been reported to persist even 3 months after their relative is discharged, and development of these adverse psychological outcomes is being called post–intensive care syndrome-family.

A recent review of studies on effective nursing interventions for meeting family members’ needs in the ICU published between 2000 and 2013 revealed that high-level evidence from experimental studies is lacking. Facilitated sense-making (FSM) is a relatively new strategy and middle range theory that can guide nursing interventions to support and engage family members of patients in the...

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