Factors associated with pediatric critical care attending follow-up with families after the death of a patient: A national survey with an experimental design

Academic Article


  • Objectives: To evaluate components of the family-physician relationship that affect the likelihood of self-reported physician follow-up with bereaved families. Design: Randomized, split-sample, national survey. Subjects: Two hundred four pediatric critical care attending physicians in the United States (54% response rate). Measurements and Main Results: Subjects were randomly assigned to respond to differing versions of three clinical vignettes varying in each instance in: 1) the patient's length of stay in the intensive care unit; 2) the depiction of the degree of trust of the family toward medical staff; or 3) the depiction of the family's emotional reactions. Subjects then reported their likelihood of following-up with the family after the patient's death. Physicians were more likely to report they would contact families depicted as having a trusting relationship with staff (p = .01). Variations in depicted length of patient stay (p = .5) and in the nature of the family's emotional reaction (p = .9) were not associated with self-reported likelihood of follow-up (p = .5). The only difference observed regarding the method of contacting families after a death was that participants were more likely to say they would attend the funeral of the patient with a trustful family (p < .01). Conclusions: Pediatric critical care attending physicians were more likely to report following-up with a bereaved family and attend a funeral in a vignette portraying a trustful relationship between the family and staff. © 2011 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 14990574
  • Author List

  • Borasino S; Morrison WE; Silberman J; Feudtner C
  • Start Page

  • 622
  • End Page

  • 627
  • Volume

  • 12
  • Issue

  • 6