Intensive Care Society communication research

We've been asked for help by the Intensive Care Society in getting patient and relative input to a research questionnaire they've put together regarding communication between patients, relatives and intensive care unit staff.

The invitation letter is below and the survey can be accessed directly at

ICUsteps is happy to support this research and would welcome your help and insight into the issue.

Many thanks for your support,

Peter Gibb

Chief Executive, ICUsteps


Dear Sir/Madam,

The Patient and Relatives Group of the Intensive Care Society is very keen to improve communication within intensive care units between patients, relatives and intensive care unit staff. With the help of some doctors who work in intensive care, the group is conducting a survey to gather patients’ and family members’ opinions and experience about communication. The aim is to use the results of the survey to devise a list of 10 key points that all staff can use to improve communication with patients and relatives. This list of communication “top tips” would be used in a campaign which we hope would improve things for patients and their relatives and carers.

We are thus inviting you to participate in this survey as you have either been or have visited a patient in intensive care unit in the past. If you choose to participate we will first ask you to write a list of “do’s” and “don’ts” that you feel would be important with regards to communication during a stay or visit in the intensive care unit. You can list up to ten, but even one would be helpful

Examples might be:

Don’t talk over the patient as if they aren’t there

Don’t trivialise any procedure about to be carried out

Do phone when you say you will

Do explain things in a way that could be understood

The survey will be completed on line through a link which is at the bottom of this letter using a system called Survey Monkey. The system is designed so that all of the suggestions are captured anonymously, that means we will not know who has raised each particular issue, but we would like to know who has sent in suggestions for the next steps.

The next step will be for us to gather all of the information from people who have contributed and make this into a long list of suggestions.

After this we would like people who have made suggestions to look at the long list that everybody has generated and have them rank the suggestions raised in order of what seems to be most important to them. This “Ranking procedure” happens twice. The method is a well recognised way of gathering a lot of opinions and creating a generally agreed list at the end of it.

Thank you for considering this and we hope that you will help us with this survey as your views are important. Please follow the link below to start the survey. If you have any questions please email

Yours Sincerely

Mr Barry Williams

Patients and Relatives Committee Chair

1 Reply

more awareness of the help that is there for patients and relatives. Examples posters and advertising the wonderful support there is. Try and get as many volunteers possible that have been through i.c.u. even if they have had no side effects. Mental health is a huge problem for all who have had i.c.u and the help i have had from walsgrave staff and follow up from doctors have been tremendous thank you to all.

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