Children using mechanical ventilation for survival represent a small, but growing, vulnerable population in society. The aim of this study was to describe the existing qualitative research that examined family members' experiences when a child is dependent on ventilator at home. A metasynthesis is an interpretative integration of qualitative research findings based on a systematic literature search. Twelve original research reports focusing on the life situation of ventilator- and technology-dependent children and their families published between 1998 and 2006 were selected as data. Themes from the metasynthesis included experiences of the ill child, siblings, and parents and the meaning of space and place. These findings provide an understanding of the family members' experiences when a child is dependent on a ventilator for survival. Recommendations for future research with this population of families include a greater focus on professional support systems and family strengths and the use of longitudinal research methods using observation and interviews.
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