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Family Presence in Final Moments: A Precious Gift

Thacker, Karen S. PhD, RN; Long, Jeanne M. MSN, RN

doi: 10.1097/01.CNJ.0000365990.69592.a5

The experience of a family and nurse who shared the acute illness of a teenager illustrates advocacy for family presence in the ICU and during resuscitation as well as integration of spiritual care in complex nursing practice. Family participation supports physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, allowing for open communication and the comfort of knowing that a loved one is receiving care. Although critical care, heart, and emergency nursing associations support family presence and holistic care, family presence remains controversial.

A teenager's illness illustrates how family presence in the ICU and during resuscitation supports meeting physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Karen S. Thacker, PhD, RN, is Dean of Professional Programs and Associate Professor of Nursing at Alvernia University, Reading, Pennsylvania. Her research focus is Education and Advocacy in End-of-Life Care.

Jeanne M. Long, MSN, RN, is Clinical Specialist for Critical Care at The Reading Hospital and Medical Center, Reading, Pennsylvania.

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