Relationships among Demographic, Clinical, and Psychological Factors Associated with Family Caregiver Readiness to Participate in Intensive Care Unit Care

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Rationale: There has been a paradigm shift to partner with family caregivers by actively involving them in the direct care of the patient throughout the critical illness trajectory. Before effectively engaging family members in patient care, clinicians must assess characteristics and circumstances that may affect caregiver readiness to assume a caregiving role in the intensive care unit (ICU). Objectives: To determine how demographic, clinical, and psychological factors are related to characteristics of family caregiver readiness to engage in ICU patient care. Methods: A convenience sample of ICU family caregivers of both adult and pediatric patients in the ICU was recruited for this cross-sectional study. Participants completed the following measures: PROMIS-29 (Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement and Information System); HADS (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale); CaSES (Caregiver Self-Efficacy Scale); Prep Scale (Preparedness for Caregiving Scale); Patient Activation Measure for Caregivers; and FCMFHS (Family Caregiver's Motives for Helping Scale). Data were collected via self-report at a single time point while the caregiver was visiting the critically ill patient in the ICU. Data analysis consisted of descriptive statistics and bivariate correlations. Results: Caregivers (N = 127) were primarily White (82.7%), females (77.2%), with a mean age of 51.8 (standard deviation [SD], 15.6). Most were either spouses (37.8%) or parents (32.3%) of the patient in the ICU. Patients were primarily adult (76.4%) with a mean APACHE (Acute Physiology, Age, Chronic Health Evaluation) III of 45.9 (SD, 22.5). There were significant (P < 0.05) negative correlations between depression, anxiety, and fatigue and all subscales of self-efficacy (resilience r = -0.18 to -0.30; self-maintenance r = -0.44 to -0.63; emotional connectivity r = -0.27 to -0.41; instrumental giving r = -0.34 to -0.46). Caregiver depression was negatively correlated with caregiver activation (r = -0.199) and caregiver preparedness (r = -0.300). Social satisfaction was positively correlated (P < 0.05) with caregiving preparedness, motivation, and all subscales of self-efficacy (preparedness r = 0.19; motivation r = 0.24; resilience r = 0.21; self-maintenance r = 0.49; emotional connectivity r = 0.29; instrumental giving r = 0.36). Conclusions: We found that caregiver symptoms of depression, anxiety, and fatigue are inversely related to caregiver preparation, motivation, and self-efficacy. To develop effective interventions for ICU family caregivers, further research is needed to understand the relationship between caregiver well-being, caregiving readiness, and caregiver involvement in patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1881-1891
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of the American Thoracic Society
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2022


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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