Date of Award

Fall 1992

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Frenn, Marilyn

Second Advisor

Shaw, Christine R.

Third Advisor

Wilson, Sarah A.


The spouse of the abdominal surgical patient is a very important person in the care of the abdominal surgical patient. In order to provide quality care, we must nurture the spouse and meet his/her needs. The focus of this study was to determine which needs were the most important to the spouse within the first twenty-four hours post-operatively. The least important needs also were examined. The spouses were chosen from the population of elective abdominal surgical patients of a 300 bed community hospital. The spouses were contacted and asked to participate in the study. After informed consent, the spouses were asked to complete a demographic sheet and the Molter's Critical Care Family Needs Inventory within the first twenty-four hours postoperatively. The data were analyzed using mean scores and frequency distributions. These were calculated for the total group and then broken down by gender to see if there were any differences between the two groups. The findings suggest that spouses have specific needs. The most important needs focused on the need for information. The needs "to know that the hospital staff cared for the patient" and "that there was hope for recovery" were also identified as important. When examining the least important needs, being alone, being able to cry, and having outside attention were not important at this time.



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