Caring Interaction with stroke survivors' family members—Family members' and nurses' perspectives

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Aims and objectives

To examine emotional support given by nurses to family members in the acute phase after a working-aged patient's stroke based on nurses’ and family members’ experiences.


The number of patients with stroke is increasing globally. There is a lack of knowledge about the emotional support of family members during the acute phase of working-aged stroke victims. To be able to provide high-quality nursing care during this phase, we need information about emotional support from family members’ and nurses’ perspective.


Using a Glaserian grounded theory approach, the study was conducted using open interviews with family members and group interviews with nurses. Data were collected between 2012–2013.


In this study, emotional support is identified as Caring Interaction. The changed life situation and diverse feelings aroused by the stroke are the starting point of providing emotional support to family members. It is important that the nurses notice family members’ need for support at the right time, use their intuition and respond appropriately.


The patient's family members are important when providing holistic nursing care for the whole family. As well as providing emotional support, high-quality nursing interventions enhance the care of family members. This study provides an explanation of the interaction process between family members and nurses. It helps family members and nurses to better understand each other. Although the data were collected 5 years ago, it is assumed that the interaction between family members and nurses has not changed during these years remarkably.

Relevance to clinical practice

According to the experiences of family members and nurses who participated in this research, emotional support manifests in Caring Interaction. Being aware of body language and behaviour of family members, nurses can better interact with them.

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