Organizations motivated to provide high-quality care in the intensive care unit are exploring strategies to engage families in patient care. Such initiatives are based on emerging evidence that family engagement improves quality and safety of care.


To gather family feedback to guide future nurse-led quality improvement efforts to engage families in the intensive care unit setting.


The Critical Care Family Satisfaction Survey, which consists of 20 items rated from 1 (very dissatisfied) to 5 (very satisfied), was paired with open-ended questions and administered to families during the intensive care unit stay from March through December 2017. Content analysis was used to identify themes regarding the family experience.


Responses were collected from 178 family members. The mean (SD) score on the survey was 4.65 (0.33). Five themes emerged regarding the delivery of family care in the intensive care unit: family interactions with the interdisciplinary team, information sharing and effective communication, family navigation of the intensive care unit environment, family engagement in the intensive care unit, and quality of patient care.


This quality improvement project provided foundational information to guide family engagement efforts in the intensive care unit. Real-time solicitation of feedback is essential to improving the family experience and guiding family-centered care delivery in this practice environment.

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