Date of Award

Summer 1990

Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Family members of patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery experience a uniquely stressful event which can create disequilibrium within the family system. Family members can be affected emotionally, physically, and structurally. The literature has addressed the needs of family members of critically ill patients, as well as their perceptions and reactions. The need for hope, the need to be with the patient, and the need for information were consistently given high ratings by family members. Many of the needs rated as important by family members were not being met, especially informational needs. Family and nurse perceptions of family needs differed, with nurses rating emotional and support needs higher. Common reactions of family members to the CABG surgical event include shock, fear, anxiety, and helplessness. Implications for nursing are addressed with specific focus on meeting family members' needs and supporting them through this time of crisis. Implications for further research are identified.