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Family satisfaction on the intensive care unit


Patient satisfaction data collation is a priority for the UK's Care Quality Commission. In the adult intensive care unit (AICU), patients are often sedated for prolonged periods. Family satisfaction data may be useful to gauge quality of service delivery. The Family Satisfaction-ICU (FS-ICU 34) questionnaire was developed and validated in the USA [1]. To our knowledge, we are the first group to use it in the UK.


The FS-ICU 34 is an anonymised questionnaire. We adapted the American terminology for use in the UK. Inclusion criteria were: AICU admission of 5 days or more; presence of next-of-kin. Patients who died were excluded. It was handed personally to AICU patients' next-of-kin following discharge. Nursing staff from both the AICU and general wards assisted in returning completed questionnaires. Key areas of questioning using the FS-ICU were: perception of treatment of patient discomfort; coordination of AICU services; skill and competencies of AICU staff; consistency and frequency of communication; standard of family facilities; and emotional support. Relatives were asked to grade their answers on a five-point scale (excellent to poor).


Data from the first 4 months of this survey have now been analysed. One hundred per cent of patients' relatives who fulfilled the inclusion criteria received a questionnaire. The response rate was 68%. The majority of respondents were satisfied with overall care and decision-making. Similarly to published data [2], families were most satisfied with nursing skill and competence (94.7% satisfied), and least satisfied with waiting room atmosphere (42.4%) and frequency of communication with doctors (71.2%).


The FS-ICU has enabled us to identify and target resources at key aspects of our service delivery. It has presented an opportunity for us to address misunderstandings and misconceptions regarding the ICU within our client base. This survey is unique in examining the links the ICU has with the community and informs the process of understanding that relationship.


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    Heyland , et al.: Crit Care Med. 2002, 30: 1413-1418. 10.1097/00003246-200207000-00002

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Correspondence to C Meadows.

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Meadows, C., Bastin, A., Kaul, S. et al. Family satisfaction on the intensive care unit. Crit Care 14, P597 (2010).

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  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Service Delivery
  • Emotional Support
  • Nurse Staff
  • Care Quality