• Delphi method;
  • empowerment status, instrument development;
  • nursing;
  • patients' families


Aims and objectives

To develop a tool, the Nurses' Empowerment Scale for Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Patients' Families (NESIPF), to help ICU nursing staff assess the empowerment status of patients' families.


Family members provide essential support for ICU patients, contributing to their mental and physical recovery. Empowering ICU patients' families may help them overcome inadequacies and meet their own and patients' acknowledged needs. Nursing should understand and address patients' families' empowerment status.


Four-phase instrument development study.


A 19-item instrument was initially generated based on literature review and interviews with family members of ICU patients. The Delphi research method was applied to gain expert opinion and consensus via rounds of questionnaires. A panel of 27 experts experienced in critical care medicine, nursing and psychology participated in two Delphi rounds and their input helped formulate an 18-item pretest instrument. Families of 20 patients were recruited to examine instrument readability. After a 2-week interval, another 20 patients' families were recruited to examine test-retest reliability. Two hundred questionnaires were then administered and analysed to examine the instrument's construct validity, criterion-related validity and internal consistency.


Expert authority coefficients of two Delphi rounds reached 0·89 and 0·91. Kendall' W coefficients of 0·113 (P < 0·001) in round 1 and 0·220 (P < 0·001) in round 2 indicated slight to fair agreement among experts. Content validity index (CVI) reached 1·0 for 12 items; the CVI for item 13 was <0·7 so it was excluded. Cronbach's α coefficient was 0·92, indicating acceptable internal consistency reliability. The coefficient of internal consistency of each dimension was 0·717–0·921. The Pearson correlation coefficient >0·9 (P < 0·05) showed an acceptable test-retest reliability.


The instrument has acceptable reliability and validity and can assess the empowerment status of families of critically ill patients.

Relevance to clinical practice

Knowledge of families' empowerment status may help to address their psychological needs and their ability to provide family support.