Surviving a critical illness through mutually being there with each other: A grounded theory study

Chung Lim Vico Chiang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The objectives of this study were to conduct a theoretical analysis of the critically ill patients' perceptions of the impact of informal support and care from their main family carer (MFC) during the time of their stay in the hospital (ICU) and thereafter (and vice versa). Research design and setting: The grounded theory method was used to investigate the target phenomenon in the ICU of a large general hospital, and three months later in the community after the patients were discharged. Qualitative data were collected through participant observation and interviews for constant comparative analysis until theoretical saturation. Results: A substantive theory emerged and it illustrated and described the dynamic actions and interactions between critically ill patients and their MFC during the process of recovery. Three categories, 1) being there with, 2) coping and 3) self-relying, comprise the essential components of this theory. Conclusion: The theory represents the core process of 'surviving a critical illness through mutually being there with each other' in which both the patients and their MFC are involved. Implications and recommendations were proposed to provide a basis for further research and nursing practice on the phenomenon of informal support and care of critically ill patients and their recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-330
Number of pages14
JournalIntensive and Critical Care Nursing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011


  • Critical illness
  • Family carers
  • Informal support
  • Presence
  • Vulnerable population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care

Cite this