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J Adv Nurs. 2008 Dec;64(6):615-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2008.04828.x.

Nursing staff attitudes and behaviours regarding family presence in the hospital setting.

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Kishwaukee Community Hospital, Intensive Care Unit, and School of Nursing and Health Studies, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, USA.



This paper is a report of a study conducted to assess the attitudes and values of nursing staff towards family presence during routine nursing care.


Nursing staff attitudes are an important factor in the adoption of family-centred care for children, and for all ages in the emergency room, special care units, and anaesthesia induction and recovery. Little is documented about nurse attitudes and behaviours related to family presence during day-to-day routine nursing care.


In 2006, primary data were collected with a convenience sample of 89 nursing staff using an 18-item questionnaire developed by the authors and based on several family-centred care instruments in the literature. Items assessed attitude and nurse behaviours related to family presence during routine nursing care.


Nurses' attitudes and behaviours towards family presence during routine nursing care were generally favourable. There was low agreement about family members being allowed to visit whenever the patient wished. Nursing staff attitudes were consistent with their self-reported behaviours supporting family presence.


Nursing staff who believe family presence is important are more likely to include families in daily care. The organization plays a key role in encouraging family-centred care by providing appropriate education and support to nursing staff.

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