Welcome to the ESICM Patient & Family webpage, specially designed for patients and their relatives affected by critical illness and spending time in intensive care units (ICUs) across the globe.

By explaining the work of the doctors, nurses and supporting medical staff in ICUs, we hope to demystify the equipment and techniques they use, to translate some of the technical jargon and to help you better understand what happens in an ICU.

We can appreciate the emotional turmoil and difficulties experienced by patients and their loved ones, and it is my hope that this page may support you during this process. For this reason we have teamed up with ICU Steps – a support group based in the UK – to provide the links to a number of important resources and useful information available in 17 different languages.

While what you are experiencing as a patient or a relative may at times feel isolating and overwhelming, we would always encourage you to ask questions and to seek the advice of the ICU team. They are there for you.

Please take the time to watch the film “ICU faces” on this page. This is a recording of the personal experiences of many patients, relatives and staff, who have shared their memories and experiences with us, and now you.

Latest News

The ESICM-Family 1 Survey aims to describe ICU family centered-care practices and variations across the globe.

This survey will be the starting point for additional studies, with which we aim to improve even further bedside practices and assist at best family members.

The questions in this questionnaire concern ICU professionals’ usual practices, excluding the pandemic period.

European Sepsis Alliance has released a brochure addressing life after sepsis and post-sepsis symptoms for sepsis survivors and their families.

Sepsis can occur to anyone regardless of age, gender, and geographical location. However, some people are at greater risk: infants, elderly, chronically ill patients and people with immune-suppression, e.g. undergoing chemotherapy or steroid treatment, people suffering from diabetes, or those without a spleen.

Sepsis can have various consequences from mental, physical to social. Early rehabilitation measures can help you or your loved one get better.

You can download the brochure here

The Patient Safety Policy Summit took place on March 3rd in the European Parliament.  The European Consensus Statement on the Multi-disciplinary and patient-centred approaches to perioperative patient safety has been agreed and signed by The European Society of Anaesthesiology, the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists, the European Board and College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the European Patients’ Forum, the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine, the European Society of Vascular Surgery, the European Surgical Association, and the International Federation of Nurse Anaesthetists.

> Read more

The European Patient Forum (EPF) Congress took place in Brussels from 12-14 November 2019. The congress focused on public and patient involvement (PPI) in research, care and medical training, and speakers included patient representatives, physicians, policy-makers, scientific journal editorials and scientists.

It was suggested at the congress that involving patients and citizens with various stakeholders could help create more efficient health systems and reduce unnecessary costs. To improve healthcare systems, patients and citizens need to be involved at various levels, as their experience can help design better care and prevention programmes, adapted to their actual needs.

Joint EFGCP & EFPIA Workshop “Roadmap Initiative to Good Lay Summary Practices” .

Many patients are involved in clinical trials but the understanding of the patients, their families and the general public about research projects and outcome is limited. There is no guidance for all types of sponsors on how best to handle the development process of Lay Summaries and how best to ensure reliable dissemination so that the ultimate goals can be achieved: increase of clinical research transparency, patients’ and public’s understanding of clinical research as well as feedback to study participants about the results of their study.

> Read more

ICUsteps was founded in 2005 by ex-patients, their relatives and ICU staff to support patients and their families through the long road to recovery from critical illness. Our aims are to support patients and relatives affected by critical illness, promote recognition of the physical and psychological consequences of critical illness through education of the medical profession and the general public, and encourage research into treatment and the prevention of these issues.
ICUsteps is the United Kingdom’s only support group for people who have been affected by critical illness and has helped many former patients, their relatives and medical staff from organisations around the world.ICU steps https://icusteps.org/guide provides a great deal of information for patients and relatives around an ICU stay. You will find high quality resources on this site in 17 different languages to provide information and support.

> Learn more

Virtual ICU

A virtual tour of where the patient will stay

What is Intensive Care?

Why is the care different in an ICU?

The ICU, the family & you

What you should know when visiting an ICU


Definitions of the more commonly-used terms in the ICU

• To support patient care across the globe
• To create international cooperation on education and health management in Intensive Care Medicine
• To transfer knowledge by developing educational and training initiatives that will contribute to the improvementof conditions and outcome of critically ill patients in Low and Middle Income Countries (both in the number & quality of lives saved)



> Learn more