Opinions of families, staff, and patients about family participation in care in intensive care units

J Crit Care. 2010 Dec;25(4):634-40. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2010.03.001.


Purpose: The aims of the study were to assess opinions of caregivers, families, and patients about involvement of families in the care of intensive care unit (ICU) patients; to evaluate the prevalence of symptoms of anxiety and depression in family members; and to measure family satisfaction with care.

Materials and methods: Between days 3 and 5, perceptions by families and ICU staff of family involvement in care were collected prospectively at a single center. Family members completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and a satisfaction scale (Critical Care Family Needs Inventory). Nurses recorded care provided spontaneously by families. Characteristics of patient-relative pairs (n = 101) and ICU staff (n = 45) were collected. Patients described their perceptions of family participation in care during a telephone interview, 206 ± 147 days after hospital discharge.

Results: The numbers of patient-relative pairs for whom ICU staff reported favorable perceptions were 101 (100%) of 101 for physicians, 91 (90%) for nurses, and 95 (94%) for nursing assistants. Only 4 (3.9%) of 101 families refused participation in care. Only 14 (13.8%) of 101 families provided care spontaneously. The HADS score showed symptoms of anxiety in 58 (58.5%) of 99 and of depression in 26 (26.2%) of 99 family members. The satisfaction score was high (11.0 ± 1.25). Among patients, 34 (77.2%) of 44 had a favorable perception of family participation in care.

Conclusions: Families and ICU staff were very supportive of family participation in care. Most patients were also favorable to care by family members.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Community Participation / psychology*
  • Consumer Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Critical Care*
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Family / psychology
  • Family Relations
  • France
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Professional-Family Relations*
  • Prospective Studies