Family perceptions of clinical research and the informed consent process in the ICU

Family perceptions of clinical research and the informed consent process in the ICU
Short Communication
Marie Labruyère, Nicolas Meunier-Beillard, Fiona Ecarnot, Audrey Large, François Aptel, Jean-Baptiste Roudaut, Pascal Andreu, Auguste Dargent, Jean-Philippe Rigaud, Jean-Pierre Quenot
Journal of Critical Care, 28 September 2020
We investigated experiences of families who provide consent for research on behalf of a loved-one hospitalized in intensive care (ICU).
Multicentre, qualitative, descriptive study using semi-directive interviews in 3 ICUs. Eligible relatives were aged >18 years, and had provided informed consent for a clinical trial on behalf of a patient hospitalized in ICU. Interviews were conducted from 06/2018 to 06/2019 by a qualified sociologist, recorded and transcribed.
Fifteen relatives were interviewed; average age 50.3 ± 15 years. All emphasized their interest in clinical research, seeing it as a duty. Involving their loved-one in research allowed them to find meaning in the events. Participants underlined that trust in caregivers and communication are determinant. The strict regulation of research was perceived as a guarantee of safety. Participants felt they lacked the intellectual capacity and knowledge to question explanations. The greatest fear was not that they might incur a risk for the patient, but rather, that they might deprive the patient of a chance at a cure.
Acceptance of research opportunities by relatives on behalf of decisionally-incapacitated patients is underpinned by trust in the physicians and the legislative framework. Communication and the quality of information provided by the caregivers are key.

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