Since I started working in Intensive Care Unit I wonder what feelings intertwine in the small waiting rooms of our units.

In many of them remain in perennial way the relatives and friends of the patient in the first hours after admission. Over time, remain only the couple, parents and brothers, and if the pathology is lengthened, as sometimes happens, it is usually the couple and the mother, tireless, who does not lack never the visits, while the rest of the family is staggered.

In the waiting rooms of large hospitals ICUs crisscross novice visitors with people who has spent many time there, linked to the physical space of a room decorated with more or less comfort and taste, and by a process of critical illness of a family member. You can identify the signs of fatigue in the faces of who has a longer stay in our “waiting rooms”, which according to Wikipedia is “a part of a building where people sit or remains standing until the fact they are waiting occurs”. What is the fact that the families of our patients expect? Is it always the improvement? Is the Discharge?

By definition the wait is a passive event. We hope that something happens but we usually are not involved in this, let others act and we wait the results.


But perhaps something is changing in our ICUs and relatives let “Hope” as passive subject to actively participate in the care of their children, brothers, parents… Another question is if family members and own professionals are ready to open the doors of our ICUs, but while this circumstance is evaluated and articulated (in some centres already exists the figure of the nurse/companion to advise families that want to be involved in the care of his patient, and there are multiple studies initiated on the ICU’s open door) the reality is only one: today no one disputes already an opportunity to humanize the intensive care and make them closer to the participation of the patient and the family, because, ultimately, the patient is the center of our care.

We may not completely mitigate fatigue and tiredness of a mother with her son admitted to ICU during a long period of time, but can (and should) let out of their passive role in the care and participate in them.

 Extremoduro: Stand by. Catálogo Warner

She could spend more time with his son that in the waiting room.
A waiting room that perhaps one day may even not be necessary.