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Keywords:

  • critical care;
  • family centred care;
  • family stress;
  • family systems;
  • intervention protocol;
  • nursing;
  • nursing intervention

tomlinson p.s., peden-mcalpine c. & sherman s. (2012) A family systems nursing intervention model for paediatric health crisis. Journal of Advanced Nursing68(3), 705–714.

Abstract

Aim.  This article discusses the development of a family systems nursing intervention for clinical use in health crisis.

Background.  Although studies in paediatric critical care provide evidence that family stress is an important clinical phenomenon, studies have demonstrated that few nurses have the requisite family intervention skills to provide family members with adequate support during crisis. In addition, few intervention studies that focus on provider–family relationships with the goal of reducing stress have been reported. This article contributes to the literature by redressing this lack.

Data sources.  The literature search supporting this project spanned from 1980 to 2009 and included searches from classic nursing theory, family theory and relevant nursing research specific to the design of the intervention reported.

Discussion.  The goal of the intervention is to provide a theoretical and practical foundation for explicit action that enhances relationships with caregivers thereby supporting the integrity of the family and enhancing their coping abilities. The intervention, based on the Family Systems Model and the family’s understandings of the situation, defines specific goals and desired outcomes to guide strategic actions. Discussion of the conceptual foundation, procedural development and an example of the protocol is provided.

Implications for nursing.  The intervention is designed for nurses with limited knowledge in family theory to aid them to better help families dealing with stress.

Conclusion.  The proposed intervention can be used to increase nurses’ skills in family centred nursing care. Although designed for use in paediatric critical care, it can, with modifications, be used in other nursing specialty areas.