[Communication, information, and roles of parents in the pediatric intensive care unit: A review article]

Arch Pediatr. 2017 Mar;24(3):265-272. doi: 10.1016/j.arcped.2016.12.001. Epub 2017 Jan 25.
[Article in French]


Pediatric intensive care units (PICUs), whose accessibility to parents raises controversy, often operate under their own rules. Patients are under critical and unstable conditions, often in a life-threatening situation. In this context, the communication with the parents and their participation in the unit may be difficult. Information is a legal, deontological, and moral duty for caregivers, confirmed by the parents' needs. But the ability to enforce them is a challenge, and there is a gap between the theory and the reality. The communication between the parents and the physicians starts at the admission of the child with a family conference. According to the Société de réanimation de langue française (SRLF), the effectiveness of the communication is based on three criteria: the patients' comprehension, their satisfaction and their anxiety and depression. It has been shown that comprehension depends on multiple factors, related on the parents, the physicians, and the medical condition of the child. Regarding the parents' participation in the organization of the service, the parents' presence is becoming an important factor. In the PICU, the parents' status has evolved. They become a member of the care team, as a partner. The best interest of the child is always discussed with the parents, as the person knowing the best their child. This partnership gives them a responsibility, which is complementary to the physician's one, but does not substitute it.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Access to Information / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Child
  • Communication*
  • Comprehension
  • Family Nursing / legislation & jurisprudence
  • France
  • Health Literacy
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units, Pediatric / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Interdisciplinary Communication
  • Intersectoral Collaboration
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Parents / education*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Patient Admission / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Professional-Family Relations*
  • Prognosis
  • Resuscitation / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires