Patient and family involvement in adult and intensive care settings: a scoping review

Savannah Salato's picture
Submitted by Savannah Salato on Sep 13, 2021 - 12:43pm CDT

Resource Type: 
Journal Article


Despite international bodies calling for increased patient and family involvement, these concepts remain poorly defined within literature on critical and intensive care settings.


This scoping review investigates the extent and range of literature on patient and family involvement in critical and intensive care settings. Methodological and empirical gaps are identified, and a future agenda for research into optimizing patient and family involvement is outlined.


Searches of MEDLINE, CINAHL, Social Work Abstracts and PsycINFO were conducted. English-language articles published between 2003 and 2014 were retrieved. Articles were included if the studies were undertaken in an intensive care or critical care setting, addressed the topic of patient and family involvement, included a sample of adult critical care patients, their families and/or critical care providers. Two reviewers extracted and charted data and analysed findings using qualitative content analysis.


A total of 892 articles were screened, 124 were eligible for analysis, including 61 quantitative, 61 qualitative and 2 mixedmethods studies. There was a significant gap in research on patient involvement in the intensive care unit. The analysis identified five different components of family and patient involvement: (i) presence, (ii) having needs met/being supported, (iii) communication, (iv) decision making and (v) contributing to care.


Three research gaps were identified that require addressing: (i) the scope, extent and nature of patient involvement in intensive care settings; (ii) the broader socio-cultural processes that shape patient and family involvement; and (iii) the bidirectional implications between patient/family involvement and interprofessional teamwork.

M Olding
McMillan SE
Reeves S
Schmitt MH
Puntillo K
Kitto S
Individual, Family, Community, and Population-centered (IFCP) Collection