A 'biopsychosocial' model for recovery: a grounded theory study of families' journeys after a Paediatric Intensive Care Admission

Intensive Crit Care Nurs. 2012 Jun;28(3):133-40. doi: 10.1016/j.iccn.2011.12.002. Epub 2012 Jan 4.


Paediatric intensive care has a significant impact on the children and families who experience it. This effect continues post-discharge as the family attempt to recover from their ordeal. This article begins with an exploration of what makes a Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) admission potentially so traumatising and then examines current models for recovery which exist in the literature. These remain sparse and do not provide a coherent model for recovery after PICU. This paper therefore presents research which aimed to develop a model to understand the recovery journey for families. Children who had been PICU patients and their parents were interviewed and the transcripts analysed using grounded theory. Participants highlighted the importance of physical, psychological and social recovery and these have been integrated into a biopsychosocial model of recovery. Finding and accepting a 'new normal' were the culmination of this biopsychosocial journey. This paper concludes that an integrated approach to recovery is necessary and makes some recommendations for further research and clinical practice.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease / rehabilitation*
  • Chronic Disease / therapy
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • London
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • National Health Programs
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care / methods*
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parents / psychology
  • Patient Admission*
  • Professional-Family Relations
  • Psychophysiology
  • Qualitative Research
  • Recovery of Function
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • Workforce