Family caregivers provide essential support, information, and surrogate decision making for critically ill patients and are recognized as important care partners with the clinical team in the intensive care unit (ICU). Unfortunately, many family members who assume a caregiving role during critical illness also experience the detrimental effects of this stressful life event.
This is an exciting time for family caregiver research and nursing research leadership in the ICU. Nursing acknowledges the importance of families and has led research in family-centered care. The needs of critically ill patients and their families are enormous and adequately tested interventions to improve outcomes and health are few. Research led by nurses can improve lives of ICU patients and their families.