A Review of the Perceptions of Healthcare Providers and Family Members Toward Family Involvement in Active Adult Patient Care in the ICU

Crit Care Med. 2016 Jun;44(6):1191-7. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000001641.


Objective: The objective of this article is to provide a summary of the perceptions of healthcare providers and family members toward their role in active patient care in the ICU and compare the views of healthcare providers with those of relatives of critically ill patients.

Data sources: The search was conducted using PubMed as the primary search engine and EMBASE as a secondary search engine.

Study selection: Studies were included if they were conducted in the ICU, had an adult patient population, and contained a discussion of active patient care, including perspective or actions of family members or healthcare providers about the active participation.

Data extraction: Titles and abstracts of articles identified through PubMed and EMBASE were assessed for relevancy of family involvement. The full article was reviewed of titles and abstracts involving family involvement of care in the ICU to assess if the topic was active care and if the article involved perceptions of healthcare providers or family members. The references of all selected articles were then evaluated for the inclusion of additional studies.

Data synthesis: Articles including perceptions of healthcare providers were grouped separately from articles including attitudes of family members. Articles that contained the perceptions of both healthcare providers and family members were considered in both groups but were evaluated with each perspective separately. Examples of specific patient care tasks that were mentioned in each article were identified.

Conclusions: A positive attitude exists among both family members and providers toward the involvement of family members in active care tasks. Providers and family members share the attitude that a partnership is necessary and that encouragement for family members to participate is essential. The findings in this review support the need for more objective research regarding how families are caring for their loved ones and how family involvement in care is affecting patient and family outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Critical Illness / nursing*
  • Family / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Patient Care*
  • Perception