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Dimitra Balaska, Zoi Bitsiori

Friday, January 9, 2015

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Pages: 106-120



Introduction: When a member of a family undertake surgery, family members and closed relatives are gathered outside the operating room area. Waiting outside the operating rooms is characterized by fear and uncertainty about the outcome of the operation, thus resulting in high levels of anxiety for the waiting family members and relatives.

Aim: This literature review aimed to analyze the study of this phenomenon in the national and international bibliography and identify possible interventions developed to manage this phenomenon. Methods: International databases such as PubMed, CINAHL, Science Direct, Wiley Online Library, and Google Scholar were used in searches for relevant literature. Several keywords were used alone or in combinations. The years covered were from 1984 until 2015 because 1984 was the date of one of the first studies on this phenomenon. Information derived from 22 articles that were eventually included in this review were thematically categorized and presented in this paper.

Results: The levels of anxiety among the relatives of surgical patients were found to be high and that was attributed to a lack of adequate information by health care professionals. Relatives developed several coping behaviors with most effective being positive thinking, pray and relying on God. Some of the interventions to deal with family anxiety were the implementation of the surgical nurse liaisons roles, family presence in the preoperative room, family visit in the post anesthesia unit and continuing information on the progress of surgery. Those interventions were found to be more effective than the use of mobile pagers and other technological assets for communication with the surgery teams.

Conclusion: Lack of information and communication with surgery staff increases the anxiety among family members. Face to face information by the surgeon following surgery and information during the surgery by the surgical team were effective means of anxiety reduction.

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