Family attendance during critical illness episodes: Reflection on practices in Arabic and Muslim contexts

Ahmad Saifan, Nabeel Al-Yateem, Khaldoun Hamdan, Nezam Al-Nsair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is common practice in healthcare systems in the Arabic region to exclude relatives when patients receive treatment for critical emergent incidents or illnesses. This exclusion is despite family members' wishes for proximity and cultural and religious values that mean being with unwell people is considered a form of worship or religious act. The marked lack of implementation of relatives' wishes in this regard is coupled with a paucity of relevant policies, guidelines, and research, despite patient populations in these countries being traditional in nature, religious, and having strong connections within their families and extended social units. The present authors reflected on this concern and advocated for increased attention to the needs and rights of critically ill patients and their families to support better quality, holistic care, especially during critical illness incidents. Healthcare professionals should consider allowing families to be present with their patients in such circumstances and appreciate the importance of family presence, despite the acknowledged challenges. The recommendations presented in this reflection may support the implementation of effective, holistic healthcare services in these countries. This reflection is also relevant to any context where care for Arabic or Muslim patients is provided.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)981-984
Number of pages4
JournalNursing Forum
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sep 2022


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