Meeting Relatives in Trauma Centers


Meeting Relatives in Trauma Centers


To develop and investigate the value of a nursing intervention targeting relatives in the Trauma Center at Aarhus University Hospital and Aalborg University Hospital.

Methods and study design

The project is a 2 year multi-method study consisting of a:

- Development part, using the literature and interviews with relatives to design a questionnaire (outcome measures) and develop a nursing intervention

- Evaluation part, using a prospectiv before and after study design to test the value of the intervention


The study will take place at the Trauma Center at Aarhus University Hospital (AUH) and Aalborg University Hospital (AAUH), and will be conducted in the period from the 1th of January 2020 to 31th of December 2021.

Population - inclusion criteria

Relatives to the following patients:

- critically ill or injured patients (red triage) in need of immediate treatment i.e. exposed to a trauma call, medical call or surgical call- sudden or unexpected death in the Trauma Center.

- brought in dead to the Trauma Center.

Relatives should be +18 years old and speak, write and understand Danish.

Clinical nurses with patient contact in the above-mentioned Trauma Centers.


The purpose of the intervention is to develop nursing skills and competencies to handle relatives to critically ill, injured or death patients, and will be implemented as workshops. The intervention will be developed by use of the existing evidence and interviews with relatives. The intervention will include:

- Teaching in crisis management by a psychologist specialized in crisis management

- Case-based exercises, linking theory and practice

- Preparation of tools (guidelines)


The primary outcome: The relatives' experience of trauma nurses communication skills.

Secondary outcomes: Nurses' assessment of their own practice and competencies.

All outcomes will be measured before and after the intervention period and data will be collected from relatives, patients and nurses before and after the intervention. Data from relatives and nurses will be collected as self-reported data using semi-structured interviews and questionnaires developed for this purpose of the present study. Patient characteristics will be collected from the Electronic Medical Record Systems.


The project is highly relevant to clinical practice and of utmost importance for future relatives in Trauma Centers. It is expected that the project may strengthen the initial effort towards handling relatives to traumatized patients and thereby strengthen the relatives' possibilities to handle the situation and to act as a resource for patients that survives.

In a broader perspective the developed intervention may also be relevant for all emergency nurses to ensure that they use evidence-based knowledge and hands-on tools in the meeting with relatives. Finally, this project will focus on emergency care that includes competencies stemming from the hands, brain and heart.


Marianne Lisby, PhD, MHSc, RN, associate professor in Research Center for Emergency Medicine & Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) (Emergency Department, AUH)

Anne Sophie Ågård, PhD, associate professor, CNS (ICU, AUH)

Karina Damsgaard Nørby, psychologist (Central Denmark Region)

Pia Stie-Svendsen, head nurse of Emergency Nursing (AUH)

Hanne Boyles, charge nurse (Trauma Center, AUH)

Helle Schjødt, charge nurse (Heart Diseases, Acute Heart Section, AUH)

Rikke Skuldbøl Nielsen, charge nurse (Trauma Center, AAUH)