A qualitative study of factors that influence active family involvement with patient care in the ICU: Survey of critical care nurses

Breanna Hetland, Natalie McAndrew, Joseph Perazzo, Ronald Hickman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


Objective Family caregiver involvement may improve patient and family outcomes in the intensive care unit. This study describes critical care nurses’ approaches to involving family caregivers in direct patient care. Research Methodology & Design This is a qualitative content analysis of text captured through an electronic survey. Setting A convenience sample of 374 critical care nurses in the United States who were subscribers to one of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses social media sites or electronic newsletters. Main outcome measure Critical care nurses’ responses to five open-ended questions about their approaches to family involvement in direct patient care. Findings Nurse, patient and family caregiver factors intersected in the context of the professional practice environment and the available resources for family care. Two main themes were identified: “Involving family caregivers in patient care in the intensive care unit requires careful ssessment” and “There are barriers and facilitators to caregiver involvement in patient care in the intensive care unit.” Conclusion Patient care demands, the professional practice environment and a lack of resources for families hindered nursing family caregiver involvement. Greater attention to these barriers as they relate to family caregiver involvement and clinical outcomes should be a priority in future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-75
Number of pages9
JournalIntensive and Critical Care Nursing
StatePublished - Feb 2018



  • Caregiver
  • Critical care
  • Engagement
  • Family
  • Intensive Care Unit
  • Involvement
  • Patient care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care

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