Strengthening Relationships with Families of Critically Ill Patients


Building positive relationships with the families of critically ill patients can be one of the most rewarding parts of any healthcare provider’s job. These relationships are not only important to ensure quality patient care, but they also help provide emotional support and comfort to families during difficult times.

In order to create strong relationships with families, it is important for healthcare providers to follow best practices that will foster trust and make them feel respected and valued, says Dr Jeremy Barnett, who has earned a license and certifications in Pediatric Advanced Life Support and Emergency Neurological Life Support.
Communication Is Key
Being able to communicate effectively with family members is essential for developing a positive relationship. Healthcare providers should strive to be clear when speaking, explain things thoroughly and avoid using medical jargon as much as possible. Furthermore, it is important for providers to take the time to listen to what family members have to say without being rushed or interrupted.
Be Respectful & Compassionate
Respecting family members and being compassionate towards them is essential in creating positive relationships. Providers should demonstrate empathy by acknowledging the emotions family members may be feeling, such as fear or anxiety, while also reassuring them that their loved one is receiving the best possible care. It is also important for providers to show respect by refraining from making assumptions based on preconceived notions about a person’s beliefs or values.
Soften the Reality
When providing information to family members, healthcare providers should always use language that is both kind and gentle. While it is important for families to be informed about their loved one’s condition, it is also critical that they are not bombarded with too much information all at once.
Creating positive relationships with families of critically ill patients requires commitment from healthcare providers to follow best practices when interacting with them. Doing so will ultimately enable better collaboration between Dr Jeremy Barnett providers and family members, which can lead to more successful outcomes for all involved.