Four years ago, a group of incredible nurses of Hospital Universitario de Bellvitge (HUB) decided to accompany me in the #benditalocura (holy madness) of carrying out a project to improve the care to the family of people admitted in the ICU. It has been a long road, which has required considerable effort, tenacity and resilience… much resilience. But now, in the end and glimpsing the results we can say that it was worth.

Through a participatory process through consensus, the reflection and the evidence on the subject, a range of strategies have been designed and implemented (adapted to the particular context of the ICU of the hospital) to improve care to families. Among the priority areas that needed a change in clinical practice, we detected that it was required to work for the information that receives the family and the lack of coherence, the immersion in a strange environment and uncertainty caused them anxiety.

For this reason, one of the strategies carried out has been the creation of an information guide to family members. This document replaces, currently, the typical handout that was given to the entry and includes a description on the ICU and its characteristics, the day by day of the person admitted, dynamics and rules of the ICU, resources to the scope of the family and, a last paragraph, which emphasizes how the family may feel and what to do to live the situation in the best possible way.

With the scientific support of the Spanish Society of Intensive Nursing and Coronary Units (SEEIUC), this guide has been written with a language that tries to be close and affable, putting the health care team, the patient and family at the same level. Magnificent illustrations of Mercedes Camacho described the apparatus and procedures in a friendly and reassuring way. In short, it is a document that seeks to greet the family, orient them in the ICU and informational support during all the income.

In addition, thinking that perhaps it may be useful in other contexts, we have made a version of the Guide broader with aspects not included in the document of the HUB. Also we have put a license Creative Commons to discard their commercial use but that allows modification and use in any ICU on the sole condition of referencing the original Guide.

So… Would you like an information Guide for family members? Thus all yours… here you have it!!

Click here to download the information guide  (only available in Spanish)

By Laura de la Cueva, nurse and member of Projecto HU-CI.


The printing of this guide has been funding by Proyecto HU-CI.

The study “Improving the nurse intervention with the family of the critically ill patient: a qualitative, participatory and knowledge in action approach” has been funded by the Colegio Oficial de Enfermeras y Enfermeros de Barcelona (PR-1809-13) and by the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad  with co-ordinated from the European Fund of Regional Development PI 13/00459 (whose motto is “A way of making Europe”).