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Rev Calid Asist. 2014 Nov-Dec;29(6):325-33. doi: 10.1016/j.cali.2014.11.004. Epub 2014 Dec 17.

[Expectations of relatives of critically ill patients regarding medical information. Qualitative research study].

[Article in Spanish]

Author information

Servicio de Medicina Intensiva, Hospital Universitario de Fuenlabrada, Fuenlabrada, Madrid, España. Electronic address:
Servicio de Medicina Intensiva, Hospital Universitario de Fuenlabrada, Fuenlabrada, Madrid, España.



To determine and analyse the expectations, needs and experiences of relatives of critically ill patients as regards medical information and the level of their understanding. To find keys for improving communication and to draw up best practices in clinical information.


Qualitative research study through semi-structured interviews carried out in a polyvalent adult intensive care unit (ICU) in a University Hospital.


relatives of patients who were admitted to the ICU and who were discharged alive from the Unit. Ten interviews were performed taking into account diversification variables such as, type of family relationship with patients, patient age, length of ICU stay, origin, and location at the time of the interview.


The results of the analysis of 10 interviews focused on: the subjective position of the family in the ICU (the agonizing wait), what the ICU represents for the family (surveillance and monitoring of a situation between life and death), perceived care (complete delegation of care), and medical information (what and how they expect and what and how they receive it), as much in the first information (sincerity, hope, delicacy) as in the successive.


There is divergence between what families expect and what they get as regards medical information. To know the expectations of the families will help to provide higher quality care and more humane treatment in the ICU.


Communication; Comunicación; Critical care/organisation and administration; Cuidados críticos/organización y administración; Cuidados intensivos; ICU patient visitors; Intensive care; Investigación cualitativa; Physician role; Qualitative research; Rol del médico; Visitas a pacientes

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