Understanding ICU Families

Family members have been shown to be integral to the well-being and recovery of patients in Intensive Care Units (ICUs). Watching a loved one fight a critical illness, however, can be a terrifying and life-altering experience. Through 3 months (80 hours) of ethnography, we studied the complex environment and observe family-care team interactions. We then captured family experiences using journals and semi-structured interviews. Based on these investigations, we propose a framework called NES (Nurture-Empower-Support) to aid the creation of a holistic system that supports the dynamic needs of families in the ICU.

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The NES stages.
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The NES framework - Click to view paper.

We also invesitgated how current aids in the ICU are used and the challenges associated with them and created prototypes of family-centered aids through a co-design session to reveal the opportunities that emerge for technology to facilitate family member support in the ICU without adding additional burdens on the care team.

Poster@CHI'19 - Click to expand.


Janet G. Johnson, Evan Schmitz, Venktesh Ramnath, and Nadir Weibel. Nurture-Empower-Support: A Human-Centered Approach to Understand and Support ICU Families. PervasiveHealth '19, Trento, Italy. [Slides]

Janet G. Johnson, Evan Schmitz, Venktesh Ramnath, and Nadir Weibel. Designing Family-Centered Aids for the Intensive Care Unit. CHI '19 Extended Abstracts, Glasgow, UK. [Poster]


Evan Schmitz, Venktesh Ramnath, Nadir Weibel