Famiréa is a multidisciplinary research group. Our studies focus on the experience of families of patients in Intensive Care Units (ICU), as well as that of the patients themselves, doctors and paramedical staff.

The group’s pragmatic research aims at improving care and support for the families of the patients.

This year, Famirea is taking up a new project to support the family members of ICU patients :  Écoute Famiréa, a national helpline.

Our mission

In Intensive Care Units are hospitalised patients who are seriously ill because the functioning of one or several of their main organs (heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, nervous system) is threatened. Their care requires an elaborate technical environment.

Invasive care is frequently used in intensive care units. The hyper-technical and noisy environment can be destabilising for the patients and for those visiting them.

Supporting a loved one in an Intensive Care Unit is a complex daily reality for nearly a million people a year in France. They need specific support and to be able to express their doubts and ask questions in a caring environment.

Early on, the French intensive care teams were sensitive to the specific needs of the family members of patients hospitalised in Intensive Care Units and wanted to improve the quality of the information they provided.

In order to meet the wishes of those working in Intensive Care Units, as well as the needs of the families, Famiréa was created in 1996 by Professor Elie Azoulay, an intensive care physician, and Dr Frédéric Pochard, a psychiatrist. 

Our work

Initially, the Famiréa team observed the support provided to family members of patients in Intensive Care Units in order to produce an objective description of the reality of the practices and experiences of the various actors involved: patients, relatives, doctors, nurses and other care providers.

Since these first descriptive studies, the group has contributed to the development of a number of tools and strategies to improve the support and care provided for    the families of patients, such as the “ICU explained” booklet, the “bereavement support” booklet and proactive communication strategies with the family members. The group has also developed more qualitative research to gain a deeper understanding of the experience of each person and to adapt the proposals resulting from quantitative research to a sometimes complex reality. Giving a voice to the people involved is at the heart of our approach.

The group includes several dozen intensive care units in France, all of which are individually involved in Famiréa’s ambitions. Our studies (about 80 published articles) and those of other researchers have led to changes in practices in many hospitals nationwide, thus contributing to improving care for patients and their families during their stay in an intensive care unit.

In 2020, the Famiréa group won the Galien Coup de Coeur prize from the Patient Support Jury.

Our team

Famirea is now co-directed by Pr Élie Azoulay, intensive care physician in the Intensive Care Medicine Department of Saint Louis Hospital and Dr Nancy Kentish-Barnes, sociologist.

IMG_3644 2

Dr Nancy 


[:fr]Élie Azoulay[:]

Pr Elie Azoulay

ICU physician


Dr Frédéric Pochard


[:en]Virginie Souppart infirmière[:]

Virginie Souppart

research nurse

Anne Renet

clinical and research psychologist


Dr Anne-Laure Poujol

senior lecturer in psychology