Meanings attributed by family and patients to family presence in emergency rooms

ABSTRACT Objective: to understand the process that leads adult and family patients to support family presence in emergency care. Method: a qualitative study that adopted Symbolic Interactionism as a theoretical reference and the Grounded Theory as a methodological framework. The theoretical sample consisted of 15 relatives and 15 patients assisted at two emergency units in the South of Brazil. Data were analyzed using open, axial and selective coding. Results: the central category “Convergence of ideas: family members and patients supporting family presence in emergency care” is supported by the categories: “Affectionate relationship among family members”; “Tacit obligation to care for the sick relative”; “Benefits for the family”; “Benefits for the patient”; and “Benefits for the health team”. Conclusion: family presence in emergency care provides maintenance and strengthening of affectionate bonds among relatives and the experience of more sensitive and qualified care.