Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 35, Issue 5, pp 899–902 | Cite as

Family members of critically ill cancer patients: assessing the symptoms of anxiety and depression

Brief Report



To determine prevalence and factors associated with symptoms of anxiety and depression in family members of critically ill cancer patients.


Prospective cohort study.


A 23-bed intensive care unit in a tertiary cancer centre.

Patients and Participants

Three hundred consecutive families of cancer patients with length of stay >72 h in ICU.



Measurements and main results

The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale questionnaire and critical care family needs inventory were completed by family members. Prevalence of anxiety and depression in family members was 71 and 50.3%, respectively. Regarding the patients’ disease, family depression was correlated with presence of metastasis, whereas hematological malignancies correlated with family’ anxiety. Anxiety was independently associated with one patient-related factor (prolonged mechanical ventilation) and two family-related factors (catholic religion and gender). Factors associated with symptoms of depression included one patient-related factor (presence of metastasis) and one family-related factor (gender).


Present findings demonstrated a high prevalence of anxiety and depression in critically ill cancer patients’ family members during an intensive care unit stay.


Anxiety Depression Intensive care unit Hospital anxiety and depression scale Cancer 

Supplementary material

134_2009_1406_MOESM1_ESM.doc (50 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 49 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Unidade de Terapia IntensivaCentro de Tratamento e Pesquisa Hospital A C CamargoSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Núcleo Avançado de TóraxHospital Sírio LibanêsSão PauloBrazil

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