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Working through Family


There are multiple relationships that impact on the care of the patient: the relationship between the nurse and patient; between the family and the patient; between the nurse and the family and between family members.


The family plays a key role in the care of a patient and is at the center of the Crescent of Care model. The patient has clinical (physical), cultural, spiritual, interpersonal and psychological needs. The family assists the nurse in identifying and meeting the patient’s needs. 


Nurses directly provide nursing care to meet the clinical needs of the patient. In some cases, the family members will participate directly in the clinical (physical) care of the patient under the guidance of the nurse. The family members and their rolein providing physical care is not gender dependent; in that the ‘caregiver’ role in the hospital may not be according to family roles (ie. a son may provide physical care to his father; a role that is usually taken by a female caregiver)


The nurse may work through the family in the provision of physical, cultural, spiritual, interpersonal and psychological needs. The nurse may also provide clinical (physical), cultural, spiritual, interpersonal and psychological care directly to the patient.

The family members may also directly provide for the patients physical, cultural, spiritual, interpersonal and psychological needs. Family provision of caring for the patient includes:


  • Spiritual care: provide spiritual care such as reading of Qur’an, saying prayers, wiping the patient with zamzam water. Read more here

  • Cultural care: the family may take a role in protection of patient dignity / modesty. The family may also provide food for the patient according to their cultural or traditional needs. The family is also a source of information about the patient and family beliefs about evil eye or jinn as causing of illness and to find solutions with the family support. Read more here

  • Psychosocial care: the family provides the psychological support to the patient; is also the ‘visitor link’ for the patient; and will be ‘in charge’ of the visiting. Read more here

  • Interpersonal care: the family is the link for communicating with the patient, interpretation of body language, habits, dialects (for language), help in translation of health information, (education) and explaining the patient needs to the health team. Read more here


The domestic help often plays a very important role in assisting the patient and family during illness. On occasion the domestic help has also the role of the sitter in caring for patients and should be respected as part of that role by the health care team.

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