Family Outcomes After the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit: A Scoping Review

Alia O’Meara, Manzi Akande, Lauren Yagiela, Kevin Hummel, Mekela Whyte-Nesfield, Kelly N. Michelson, Monique Radman, Chani Traube, Joseph C. Manning, Mary E. Hartman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Intensivists are increasingly attuned to the postdischarge outcomes experienced by families because patient recovery and family outcomes are interdependent after childhood critical illness. In this scoping review of international contemporary literature, we describe the evidence of family effects and functioning postpediatric intensive care unit (PICU) as well as outcome measures used to identify strengths and weaknesses in the literature. Methods: We reviewed all articles published between 1970 and 2017 in PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), or the Cochrane Controlled Trials Registry. Our search used a combination of terms for the concept of “critical care/illness” combined with additional terms for the prespecified domains of social, cognitive, emotional, physical, health-related quality of life (HRQL), and family functioning. Results: We identified 71 articles reporting on the postPICU experience of more than 2400 parents and 3600 families of PICU survivors in 8 countries. These articles used 101 different metrics to assess the various aspects of family outcomes; 34 articles also included open-ended interviews. Overall, most families experienced significant disruption in at least five out of six of our family outcomes subdomains, with themes of decline in mental health, physical health, family cohesion, and family finances identified. Almost all articles represented relatively small, single-center, or disease-specific observational studies. There was a disproportionate representation of families of higher socioeconomic status (SES) and Caucasian race, and there was much more data about mothers compared to fathers. There was also very limited information regarding outcomes for siblings and extended family members after a child's PICU stay. Conclusions: Significant opportunities remain for research exploring family functioning after PICU discharge. We recommend that future work include more diverse populations with respect to the critically ill child as well as family characteristics, include more intervention studies, and enrich existing knowledge about outcomes for siblings and extended family.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1179-1198
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Intensive Care Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • critical care
  • family
  • late effects
  • mental health
  • outcomes
  • pediatric critical care
  • pediatrics


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