Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nursing Best Practice Guidelines

Providing Information, Accessing Resources and Supporting Family Resource

3.0 Identify resources and supports to assist families to address the life event, whether this is expected or unexpected.
Resources should be identified within the following three categories:

Intrafamilial:  Nurses can support families in recognizing their strengths and building upon them; in times of stress each family copes in their unique way. During assessment, individual coping mechanisms should be identified:

  • Spirituality e.g. prayer, formalized religion (Hawkins, 1996; Magliano et al.,1998a);
  • Individual counseling (Bourgeois et al., 1996);
  • Cultural strengths (Fast & Keating, 2000); and
  • Implementing self-care strategies e.g. personal journal, accepting help, acknowledging need for rest and revitalization (McDonald et al., 1996).

Interfamilial:  It is important to assist patients and their families to access the services of support groups (Bourgeois et al., 1996; Hawkins, 1996; McDonald et al., 1996; Wysocki et al., 1997) and informal networks. Some resources families can consider are:
Support groups unique to the family’s needs e.g. Alzheimer Support Group
(Bourgeois et al., 1996);

  • Newsletters e.g. Bone Marrow Transplant Newsletter (McDonald et al., 1996);
  • Organized educational programs for families related to specific skills training
  • (Bourgeois et al., 1996; McDonald et al., 1996; Wysocki et al., 1997); and
  • Friends or families to help with housekeeping, dietary needs, transportation and companionship (Dokken & Sydnor-Greenberg, 1998).

Extrafamilial:  Nurses can act as advocates, coordinating and facilitating access to care, and can provide information on:

  • Community resources and programs e.g. home care and respite care (Bourgeois et al., 1996; Dokken & Sydnor-Greenberg, 1998; Gottlieb & Johnson, 2000; Hawkins, 1996; Laitinen, 1993).
  • Guides to local community resources e.g. Community Service book; and
  • Educational and skill training programs (Hawkins, 1996, Magliano et al., 1998a, McDonald et al., 1996).