Family experience with intensive care unit care: Association of self-reported family conferences and family satisfaction

Sashikanth Kodali, Rebecca A. Stametz, Amanda C. Bengier, Deserae N. Clarke, Abraham J. Layon, Jonathan D. Darer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: A family conference is recommended as a best practice to improve communication in the intensive care unit (ICU), but this can be challenging given the setting. This study examined whether family members who reported that a family conference occurred had higher satisfaction than those who did not report that a conference was held. Materials and Methods: The study used a retrospective data analysis of family satisfaction based on family member's responses to a questionnaire. Families of all the patients admitted to ICUs of 2 quaternary hospitals in an integrated health system were surveyed. Results: The families of 457 patients who matched the inclusion and exclusion criteria were surveyed with a 55.6% response rate. Family satisfaction with decision making was significantly higher (83.6 vs 78.2, P = .0211) for families who reported that family conferences occurred. No significant difference in the satisfaction with care and overall satisfaction scores was found (84.2 vs 80.0, P = .10). Patients whose families reported a family conference were older and had higher mortality. Conclusion: This study confirms that families who report attending family conferences are more satisfied with decision making in the ICU. This study highlights the need to increase communication in ICUs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-644
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Critical Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • End-of-life care
  • Family communication
  • Family conference
  • Family satisfaction
  • Medical decision making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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