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

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

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Medical ICU, Saint Joseph Hospital Network, 75014 Paris, France.



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.


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.


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.


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

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