Background: Involvement of families in physiotherapy-related tasks of critically ill patients could be
beneficial for both patients and their family. Before designing an intervention regarding family
participation in the physiotherapy-related care of critically ill patients, there is a need to investigate
the opinions of critically ill patients, their family and staff members in detail.
Objective: Exploring the perceptions of critically ill patients, their family and staff members
regarding family participation in physiotherapy-related tasks of critically ill patients and the future
Methods: A multicenter study with a qualitative design is presented. Semistructured interviews
were conducted with critically ill patients, family and intensive care staff members, until theoretical
saturation was reached. The conventional content method was used for data analyses.
Results: Altogether 18 interviews were conducted between May 2019 and February 2020. In total,
22 participants were interviewed: four patients, five family members, and 13 ICU staff members. Six
themes emerged: 1) prerequisites for family participation (e.g., permission and capability); 2) timing
and interactive aspects of engaging family (e.g., communication); 3) eligibility of patients and family
(e.g., first-degree relatives and spouses, and long stay patients); 4) suitability of physiotherapyrelated
tasks for family (e.g., passive, active and breathing exercises); 5) expected effects (e.g.,
physical recovery and psychological wellbeing); and 6) barriers and facilitators, which may affect the
feasibility (e.g., safety, privacy, and responsibility).
Conclusion: Patients, family members and staff members supported the idea of increased family
participation in physiotherapy-related tasks and suggested components of an intervention. These
findings are necessary to further design and investigate family participation in physiotherapyrelated