Family meetings, Nurse-patient communication, Quality improvement



  1. Wu, Huixin DNP, RN, CCRN, CCNS
  2. Ren, Dianxu PhD, MD
  3. Zinsmeister, Glenn R. MSN, RN
  4. Zewe, Gretchen E. PhD, RN
  5. Tuite, Patricia K. PhD, RN, CCNS


Purpose/Objectives: The aims of this study were to develop, implement, and evaluate the impact of early intensive care unit (ICU) nurse-led family meetings on nurse-family communication, family decision making, and satisfaction of family members.


Background: Intensive care unit nurses are in an ideal position to meet family needs, and family members may cope better with the crisis of an ICU admission if consistent honest information is provided by nurses; however, there are no early ICU family meetings led by bedside nurses.


Methods: This quality improvement project was implemented in a 10-bed neuroscience ICU over a 3-month period. A convenience sample of 23 nurses participated in the project. Following development of a communication protocol to facilitate nurse-led meetings, the nurses received education and then implemented the protocol. Thirty-one family members participated in the project. Family members were surveyed before and after the meetings.


Results: Mean meeting time was 26 (SD, 14) minutes. Following implementation of the meetings, findings demonstrated that families felt that communication improved (P = .02 and P = .008), they had appropriate information for decision making allowing them to feel in control (P = .002), and there was an increase in family satisfaction (P = .001).


Conclusion: Early ICU nurse-led family meetings were feasible, improved communication between ICU nurses and family members, facilitated decision making in ICU families, and increased satisfaction of family members.