Skip to main content

Quality of care in the intensive care unit: the sight of the family members


In spite of new technologies and sophisticated monitoring, intensive care has been distant from humanization. To know anxieties and the perception of the family members of patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) can optimize the improvement of intensive care quality.


Medical students interviewed 45 family members of patients in the ICU of a university hospital, using a 12-query questionnaire on the quality of care (physicians and nursing).


Forty-five families answered the questionnaire. The mean length of stay by the time of the interview was varying from 3 to 120 days; the most frequent complaint was the noise and reduced visit period (only 30 min/day), in 26% (12) of the answers. Twelve (26%) of the families reported that the patients had not complained of pain and nine (20%) did report pain, most of minimum intensity (66.6%) with quick relief after medication. There were two complaints (4.4%) of pain during blood examination sampling. Variations of temperature troubled seven (15.5%) of the patients. The visit period (30 min) was considered to be unsatisfactory by 18 (40%) of the families; 20 (44.44%) families suggested amplifying the visit period and the number of visitors. The medical attendance was qualified as 'very good' by 24 (53%) and 'good' by 21 (47%), and the nursing attendance was qualified as 'very good' by 12 (26.6%) and 'good' by 27 (60%). Unsatisfactory information provided by the nursing staff was the complaint of 14 (31.11%) families. Thirty-eight (84.4%) families reported great hope in the treatment instituted at the ICU.


To know the anxieties of the families in the regard of treatment instituted in the ICU allows correction of mistakes and improvement of the quality and humanization.

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Guimarães, H., Schneider, A., Leal, P. et al. Quality of care in the intensive care unit: the sight of the family members. Crit Care 7, P84 (2003).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI:


  • Public Health
  • Family Member
  • Intensive Care Unit
  • Medical Student
  • Emergency Medicine