Strengthening family ‘interference’

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Abstract

This paper examines the phenomenon of family ‘interference’ in the health care of a sick member from a new angle. The ‘interfering’ behaviours are located within the context of the family's evolving relationships with health care providers. The authors argue that the behaviours are an understandable product of the family's disillusionment and dissatisfaction with their health care relationships. As such, these interfering behaviours represent the family's most productive means of positively influencing their sick member's experience with illness. In addition, they set the stage for negotiation to take place between the family and health care providers which leads to mutually satisfying care. When interference is appreciated within the context of health care relationships, it becomes obvious that some of our traditional nursing responses are counterproductive. This paper offers suggestions for making interference work, as well as theoretical questions to the nursing practitioner.

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