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The cultural meaning attributed to the intensive care unit by clients and their parents: a link between abysm border and freedom

The purpose of this ethnographic study was to identify the cultural meaning that patients in an intensive care unit and their relatives attribute to the hospitalization process. Data were collected by means of participant observation and interviews with 17 participants (clients and their family), during hospitalization. Data were classified in tree categories: 1)ICU, the abysm border: a strange and scary place; 2) ICU: the link between the abysm border and freedom; 3) discharge from ICU: freedom of life. The main theme was: "Intensive Care Unit -- a link between abysm border and freedom". Authors considered relevant to unveil the cultural meanings involved in the situation in order to provide elements for a personalized care to the client and family.

Nursing Care; Intensive Care Unit; Ethnography

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