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A Systematic Review of Family Meeting Tools in Palliative and Intensive Care Settings

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Singer AE1, Ash T2, Ochotorena C3, Lorenz KA4, Chong K5, Shreve ST6, Ahluwalia SC7.



Family meetings can be challenging, requiring a range of skills and participation. We sought to identify tools available to aid the conduct of family meetings in palliative, hospice, and intensive care unit settings.


We systematically reviewed PubMed for articles describing family meeting tools and abstracted information on tool type, usage, and content.


We identified 16 articles containing 23 tools in 7 categories: meeting guide (n = 8), meeting planner (n = 5), documentation template (n = 4), meeting strategies (n = 2), decision aid/screener (n = 2), family checklist (n = 1), and training module (n = 1). We found considerable variation across tools in usage and content and a lack of tools supporting family engagement.


There is need to standardize family meeting tools and develop tools to help family members effectively engage in the process.

Resource: Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2016 Sep;33(8):797-806.