BACKGROUND: Relatives of intensive care patients are at risk of developing symptoms of anxiety, depression and posttraumatic stress resulting in reduced health-related quality of life. Recovery programmes for patients have been implemented, but their effect on relatives is uncertain.
AIM: To determine whether relatives benefit from a recovery programme intended for intensive care survivors.
RESEARCH DESIGN: A randomised controlled trial of 181 adult relatives: intervention group (n = 87), control group (n = 94).
SETTING: Ten intensive care units in Denmark.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary outcome: health-related quality of life (HRQOL).
SECONDARY OUTCOMES: Sense of coherence (SOC), and symptoms of anxiety, depression and posttraumatic stress, compared to standard care at 12 months after intensive care discharge.
RESULTS: No difference in HRQOL between groups was observed at 12 months (mean difference in mental component summary score, 1.35 [CI 95%: -3.13; 5.82], p = 0.55; and physical component summery score, 1.86 [CI 95%: -1.88; 5.59], p = 0.33). No differences were found in secondary outcomes.
CONCLUSION: The recovery programme intended for intensive care survivors did not have an effect on the relatives. Future recovery programmes should be targeted to help both patient and family, and future research should be conducted on a larger scale to make conclusions with higher probability.