Introduction: The family members of a patient admitted to a COVID Intensive Care Unit (COVID-ICU) could not communicate with and stay close to their loved one, which resulted in them becoming dependent on hospital staff for remote updates.
Objective: To describe the lived experiences of families with a member admitted to a COVID-ICU.
Methods: A phenomenological study was conducted. The subjects were interviewed with open-ended questions to allow them full freedom of expression. The researchers involved in the analysis immersed themselves in the data, independently reading and rereading the transcripts to gain a sense of the entire dataset.
Results: Fourteen first-degree family members were recruited. Five main themes emerged: fear, detachment, life on standby, family-related loneliness in the COVID-ICU, and an unexpected event.
Conclusions: Knowing the experience of families who have a relative in the COVID-ICU is essential for recognizing and reducing the risk of developing symptoms of post-intensive care syndrome.
Keywords: COVID-19; Detachment; Experience; Family care; Intensive care unit.
Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.