Aim First, to describe the state of the art of joined forces in person-centered care of professionals and patients with their relatives, in the context of intensive care units (ICUs) in the Netherlands. Second, to explore the aspects that are relevant to the professionals providing this compassionate care. Background Person-centered care is gaining increasing interest, with the shift from provider-centric norms to care arranged around individual beliefs and needs. Current daily practice in the ICU corresponds increasingly to this idea of person-centered care. Case presentationThe realization of ‘best practices’ in the emotional support of ICU patients’ relatives in three hospitals in the Netherlands enables the sharing of the successful ICU quality improvements nationwide. While other organizations have implemented similar evidence-based interventions, it seemed that professionals were sometimes inclined to reinvent the wheel as they were not aware of other successful initiatives and results. The ‘Family and patient Centered Intensive Care’ (FCIC) foundation acts as a center of expertise, aiming to exchange knowledge, to maintain (inter)national contacts, and is an inspirational force in reducing the emotional effects of ICU admission on patients and their relatives. Conclusion Quality improvement programs to support the emotional distress of an ICU admission are ideally designed combining the strengths of different disciplines and involving patient-experts and their relatives. This approach is the core of person-centered care; the views, values and needs of the experts are the basis of change in ICU policies. FCIC ensures that these joined forces of professionals and experts improve the quality of care during and after ICU admission. However, person-centered care puts an additional emotional effort on the shoulders of the ICU professionals. This needs to be recognized as well.