The effectiveness of in-hospital psychosocial intervention programmes for families of critically ill patients - a systematic review.
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Background. A review of in-hospital psychosocial intervention studies for families with a relative in a critical care unit was conducted. Purpose of review. To review the literature on studies addressing the topic, discuss research methods critically, describe clinical outcomes and make recommendations for future research efforts. In doing so, empirically tested interventions producing positive outcomes may be applied to support families who have a relative in a critical care unit. Data sources. Research citations from 1991 to 2006 from CINAHL, Medline, Pubmed, PsycInfo, SABINET, Cochrane and SCOPUS databases, Internet search engines and unpublished abstracts through NEXUS were searched. Review methods. Citations were reviewed and evaluated for sample, design, intervention, threats to validity and outcomes. Review studies were limited to those that evaluated in-hospital interventions in family members of patients in a critical care unit. Results. Six studies were reviewed. Positive outcomes were reported for all of the intervention strategies. All but one of the studies reviewed studied small samples and single critical care units, and were poor in design. Conclusions. The paucity of interventional studies and the lack of systemic empirical precision to evaluate effectiveness of these interventions necessitate that future studies be methodologically rigorous.