Volume 10 , Issue 4 , August 2021 , Pages: 191 - 200
In the Eye of the Hurricane - A Qualitative Study on What Is at Stake for Close Family Members to Patients Hospitalized with COVID-19
Camilla Bernild, The Heart Center, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
Malene Missel, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, the Heart Center, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
Ilkay Dagyaran, Department of Infectious Diseases, the Heart Center, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
Signe Westh Christensen, The Heart Center, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
Selina Kikkenborg Berg, The Heart Center, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark; National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark; Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Received: Jun. 14, 2021;       Accepted: Jun. 22, 2021;       Published: Jul. 2, 2021
DOI: 10.11648/j.ajns.20211004.11        View        Downloads  
COVID-19 causes patient trajectories that are sudden, unpredictable and imbedded in a worldwide panic as well as lack of medical experience and knowledge. This study aims to understand how close family members to patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are affected by the situation. Individual, in-depth interviews with twelve close family members to patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were conducted. The interviews were analyzed with a hermeneutic approach using reflexive methodology. Theoretical conceptualization ensured a critical interpretation. Three empirical themes were identified: fear and unpredictability, not being able to be there and being the “key caregiver”. Family members´ fear is compounded as the whole world is preoccupied with the same fear and uncertainty about COVID-19. Due to the volatile situation, a shift in coping strategies throughout the trajectory was illuminated as well as an ambivalence towards the health system´s treatment regime on COVID-19 implying a total separation between the patient and their close family member. In conclusion, close family members of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are in a vulnerable situation, characterized by a high degree of unpredictability and seriousness causing fear of losing their loved ones, as well as powerlessness due to visiting restrictions. Hospitalization with COVID-19 is an unpredictable situation, where the family members are separated from their loved ones. Family members are dependent on the communication with health care professionals. Therefore, talking to family members during COVID-19 must be prioritized and it is found necessary to develop relevant and systematic practices for communication and collaboration practices.
2019-nCoV, COVID-19, Coronavirus, Qualitative Study, Family, Close Family Members, Hospitalization
To cite this article
Camilla Bernild, Malene Missel, Ilkay Dagyaran, Signe Westh Christensen, Selina Kikkenborg Berg, In the Eye of the Hurricane - A Qualitative Study on What Is at Stake for Close Family Members to Patients Hospitalized with COVID-19, American Journal of Nursing Science. Vol. 10, No. 4, 2021, pp. 191-200. doi: 10.11648/j.ajns.20211004.11
Copyright © 2021 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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