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Constructing a grounded theory of critical illness survivorship; the dualistic worlds of survivors and family members

Page, P., Simpson, A. ORCID: 0000-0003-3286-9846 & Reynolds, L. M. (2018). Constructing a grounded theory of critical illness survivorship; the dualistic worlds of survivors and family members. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 28(3-4), pp. 603-614. doi: 10.1111/jocn.14655


Aim of the study
To understand the critical illness trajectory from patient and relative perspectives.

In the context of increasing survivorship from critical illness it is important to enhance our understanding of the subjective experience of survivors and their families. The need to consider the legacy of critical care beyond physiological survival is imperative.

Utilising a constructivist grounded theory methodology, in‐depth interviews were undertaken with survivors of critical illness (n=16) and family members (n=15). Constant comparative analysis and data collection occurring concurrently with theoretical sampling commencing from the outset. EQUATOR guidelines for qualitative research (COREQ) applied.

Survivors of critical illness invariably experienced vivid, hallucinatory experiences which placed them in a different world or liminal space. The core difficulty can be summarised as follows; survivors have little recall of the factual events of their critical illness but relatives have lived the whole event in a very real and ingraining manner. This can result in family members and survivors experiencing different versions of the critical illness episode.

Survivors of critical illness, together with family members experience challenges when endeavouring to readjust to life post critical care. This study has identified a middle range theory of dualistic worlds between and within the survivor and family member experiences. Exploring the dynamic interplay between intrapersonal, interpersonal and societal factors has provided theoretical insights with practice implications in relation to surviving critical illness.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2018 The Authors. Journal of Clinical Nursing Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Nursing
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management > Food Policy
SWORD Depositor:
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