Purpose: To assess family satisfaction in the intensive care unit (ICU) and areas for improvement using quantitative and qualitative analyses.
Methods: Prospective cohort study performed in four (mixed surgical, neurological, and cardiological) intensive care units of a university hospital in Germany, using a translated and validated version of the Family Satisfaction in the ICU (FS-ICU) questionnaire, with questions answerable on a rating scale and three open-ended questions about strengths and weaknesses. Quantitative analysis was performed to identify items with low performance and high importance. For qualitative analysis, comments were coded and analyzed to identify important themes. Patient-related data were obtained from an electronic patient data management system.
Results: Participants were 215 family members visiting adult intensive care patients with length of stay over 48 h. Response rate was 28 %. Respondents were highly satisfied; summary scores were 78.3 ± 14.3 [mean ± standard deviation (SD)] on a scale of 0 (poor) to 100 (excellent). Regression analysis failed to identify association with patient- or family-related factors. The following themes for possible improvement emerged from both quantitative and qualitative analyses: patient agitation-consistency, clarity and completeness of information-emotional support-respect and compassion towards families. Families were also dissatisfied with the waiting room, ICU atmosphere, and amenities for visiting relatives.
Conclusions: Families report high satisfaction with intensive care. Nevertheless, there is room for improvement, in particular regarding how ICU staff communicate with families and provide emotional support.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01449734.