Chapter 2: Strategies to assess and engage with families

Establishing safety and trust

“I was very naïve about how the ICU works...I came away realizing how important it is for families to feel safe”. ICU Family Advisor

Trust between family and staff is established through positive, respectful and honest conversations, actions, and behaviour.

Click on the button below to view ways to build trust with families and actions that prevent you from establishing trust.


Ways to build trust Barriers to building trust

Direct communication


Genuineness and authenticity



Honesty and transparency 

Empower families to as questions

Give them choice and agency (when possible)


Withholding information

Rushing and conveying a lack of time

A depersonalized experience where the patient or family is treated like a number













Clinician Tip