Family Caregiver Preferences and Contributions Related to Patient Care in the ICU

Breanna D. Hetland, Natalie S. McAndrew, Kevin A. Kupzyk, Dustin C. Krutsinger, Bunny J. Pozehl, Jennifer M. Heusinkvelt, Courtney E. Camenzind

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Guided by Individual and Family Self-Management Theory, the purpose of this cross-sectional study was to describe patient care activities that family caregivers endorsed and performed while visiting their family member in the ICU. We found that caregivers wanted to be involved in ICU patient care and had preferences for the care they wanted to perform with their critically ill family member. More than 80% preferred to perform tasks related to daily grooming, communication, and education. Of note, many caregivers expressed interest in holistic healing activities (i.e., music and art), and yet, less than 50% of caregivers reported participating in these activities. The discrepancy between the number of care activities that respondents desired to perform compared to the number of care activities they reported performing represents an important opportunity to shift research and practice improvement efforts toward more tailored family engagement interventions and recognition of family caregivers as essential partners in care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-226
Number of pages13
JournalWestern journal of nursing research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • caregiver
  • critical illness
  • family
  • family-centered nursing
  • psychological distress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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