Meeting with the ICU Team: A Guide for Families

The Intensive Care Unit can be an intimidating place for families and loved ones. If your loved one is in the ICU, ask for a family meeting. The team will meet with your family to discuss the condition and care of your loved one.

To make the most of your time together at the meeting, you may find it helpful to think about your questions and what you might want to discuss. Ask yourself, what do you know about your loved one’s illness and treatments? You can check if this information is correct, complete and current during the family meeting. If you have concerns, worries, fears, or other feelings about your loved one’s condition or anything else related to the ICU care, write them down so you can share them at the meeting.

Questions to ask at an ICU family meeting:

  1. Why was your loved one brought to the ICU?
  2. What has happened since then?
  3. What are his or her main medical problems now?
  4. What treatments are being given or planned?
  5. What do the doctors expect to happen?
  6. What are the other treatment choices?
  7. What medical decisions does the family need to make?
  8. Who will come to your family meeting?

Provide the ICU with a list of health care team members and family members that you would like to attend the meeting. Health care team members include:

  • ICU doctor in charge
  • Any other doctors who are important in your loved one’s care
  • Nurse
  • Social worker
  • Chaplain

Having a family meeting will help get everyone on the same page and will give your family and your loved one more control over care and treatment options.