Purpose: To describe the relationships between demographic variables and the need for support, comfort, information, proximity and assurance amongst the visitors at the intensive care unit (ICU).
Methods: In a cross-sectional correlational design, data were collected from March 2008 to January 2009 at a university hospital in the city of Oslo, Norway. The Critical Care Family Needs Inventory was used to collect data on the participants' perceived need for support, comfort, information, proximity and assurance. One hundred and forty-six questionnaires were given to the visitors of 74 patients, and 62 (42.5%) responded.
Results: The bivariate analyses showed that younger visitors regarded their need for comfort, information, proximity and assurance as more important than older visitors. Women reported a need for more comfort than men. Visitors with a lower level of formal education regarded their need for more support and comfort as more important than those with a higher educational level. After controlling for other socio-demographic variables, linear regression analysis showed that low educational level was directly related to greater need for support, comfort and proximity.
Conclusions: Professionals should pay special attention to the needs of younger visitors to the ICU, females and those with a low level of education.
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