family members, Family Satisfaction in the ICU, intensive care units, patient satisfaction, quality of healthcare



  1. Hansen, Lissi
  2. Rosenkranz, Susan J.
  3. Mularski, Richard A.
  4. Leo, Michael C.


Background: Family members' perspectives about satisfaction with care provided in the intensive care unit (ICU) have become an important part of quality assessment and improvement, but national and international differences may exist in care provided and family perspectives about satisfaction with care.


Objective: The purpose of the research was to understand family members' perspectives regarding overall care of medical patients receiving intensive care.


Methods: Family members of medical patients who remained 48 hours or more in two adult ICUS at two healthcare institutions in the U.S. Pacific Northwest took part by responding to the Family Satisfaction with Care in the Intensive Care Unit survey. Qualitative content analysis was used to identify major categories and subcategories in their complimentary (positive) or critical (negative) responses to open-ended questions. The number of comments in each category and subcategory was counted.


Results: Of 138 responding family members, 106 answered the open-ended questions. The 281 comments were more frequently complimentary (n = 126) than critical (n = 91). Three main categories (competent care, communication, and environment) and nine subcategories were identified. Comments about the subcategory of emotional/interrelational aspects of care occurred most frequently and were more positive than comments about practical aspects of care.


Discussion: Findings were similar to those reported from other countries. Emotional/interrelational aspects of care were integral to family member satisfaction with care provided. Findings suggest that improving communication and decision-making, supporting family members, and caring for family loved ones as a person are important care targets. Initiatives to improve ICU care should include assessments from families and opportunity for qualitative analysis to refine care targets and assess changes.