OBJECTIVE: To investigate which factors contribute to conflicts between healthcare professionals and family members from ethnic minority groups during medically critical situations in hospital.

DESIGN: Descriptive, ethnographic research.

METHOD: Ethnographic fieldwork was carried out in one intensive care unit (ICU) of a multi-ethnic urban hospital in Belgium in the period January-June 2014. Data were collected by means of negotiated interactive observation, in-depth interviews with healthcare professionals and examining the patients' medical files. Data were analysed using grounded theory procedures.

RESULTS: Conflicts were primarily related to the participants' different views on 'good care'. Healthcare providers' (HCPs') views on good care were primarily grounded on a biomedical care model, whereas families' views on good care were mainly inspired by a holistic care approach. According to HCPs, giving good care included fighting the disease efficiently with great scientific competence, but family members considered this rather as attending to the patient and giving bedside care, amongst other things. The HCPs' biomedical vision on good care was strengthened by the strict application of ward regulations, characterizing the ICU setting. The families' holistic views on good care were strengthened by specific ethno-familial characteristics, including their ethno-cultural background. However, ethno-cultural differences only contributed to conflict if the policy context on the ICU could provoke this conflict.

CONCLUSION: Conflicts cannot be exclusively linked to ethno-cultural differences. Structural, functional characteristics of the ICU contribute substantially to conflict development. Effective conflict prevention should, therefore, not only focus on ethno-cultural differences but should also focus sufficiently on the structural context and ward policy.

Vertaalde titel van de bijdrageConflicts between healthcare professionals and families of a multi-ethnic patient population in the intensive care unit
Originele taal-2Dutch
Pagina's (van-tot)12-17
Aantal pagina's6
TijdschriftNederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
Nummer van het tijdschrift33
StatusPublished - 2016

Bibliografische nota

Dit onderzoek werd eerder gepubliceerd in Critical Care (2015;19:441) met als titel 'Conflicts between healthcare professionals and families of a multi-ethnic patient population during critical care: an ethnographic study.' Afgedrukt met toestemming.


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