In 1979 Molter published a landmark study on the needs of family members of the critically ill. Forty years later, innumerable research and clinical practice reports have been published on interventions targeted to meet the information, proximity, support, comfort, and reassurance needs of families. Examples include education, open/flexible visiting, family presence during resuscitation, support groups, patient care conferences, and family participation in rounds, also known as “family-centered rounds” (FCRs).

Families experience significant distress when inadequately informed and supported by the health care team. Family-centered rounds incorporate all 6 dimensions of patient- and family-centered care (see Figure) and thus may offer families a safety net. For more than a decade, the Society of Critical Care Medicine’s family-centered guidelines have promoted inviting patients’ family members to participate in rounds to improve satisfaction with communication and family engagement/empowerment, the last element of...

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