Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 29, Issue 9, pp 1498–1504

Family participation in care to the critically ill: opinions of families and staff


    • Service de Réanimation MédicaleHôpital Saint-Louis
  • Frédéric Pochard
  • Sylvie Chevret
  • Charles Arich
  • François Brivet
  • Frédéric Brun
  • Pierre-Emmanuel Charles
  • Thibaut Desmettre
  • Didier Dubois
  • Richard Galliot
  • Maite Garrouste-Orgeas
  • Dany Goldgran-Toledano
  • Patrick Herbecq
  • Luc-Marie Joly
  • Mercé Jourdain
  • Michel Kaidomar
  • Alain Lepape
  • Nicolas Letellier
  • Olivier Marie
  • Bernard Page
  • Antoine Parrot
  • Pierre-Andre Rodie-Talbere
  • Alain Sermet
  • Alain Tenaillon
  • Marie Thuong
  • Patrick Tulasne
  • Jean-Roger Le Gall
  • Benot Schlemmer
  • the French Famirea Group

DOI: 10.1007/s00134-003-1904-y

Cite this article as:
Azoulay, É., Pochard, F., Chevret, S. et al. Intensive Care Med (2003) 29: 1498. doi:10.1007/s00134-003-1904-y



Allowing family members to participate in the care of patients in intensive care units (ICUs) may improve the quality of their experience. No previous study has investigated opinions about family participation in ICUs.


Prospective multicenter survey in 78 ICUs (1,184 beds) in France involving 2,754 ICU caregivers and 544 family members of 357 consecutive patients. We determined opinions and experience about family participation in care; comprehension (of diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment) and satisfaction (Critical Care Family Needs Inventory) scores to assess the effectiveness of information to families and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression score for family members.


Among caregivers 88.2% felt that participation in care should be offered to families. Only 33.4% of family members wanted to participate in care. Independent predictors of this desire fell into three groups: patient-related (SAPS II at ICU admission, OR 0.984); ICU stay length, OR 1.021), family-related (family member age, OR 0.97/year); family not of European descent, OR 0.294); previous ICU experience in the family, OR 1.59), and those related to emotional burden and effectiveness of information provided to family members (symptoms of depression in family members, OR 1.58); more time wanted for information, OR 1.06).


Most ICU caregivers are willing to invite family members to participate in patient care, but most family members would decline.


Intensive careFranceInformationComprehensionSatisfactionAnxiety

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003