Patient- and family-centred care in the intensive care unit: a challenge in the daily practice of healthcare professionals

This article by van Mol et al was published in Journal of Clinical Nursing October issue.
Aims and Objectives:  To evaluate the impact of supportive interventions perceived by both the intensive care unit patients’ relatives and the healthcare providers, such as deferred intake interviews for providing information and discussing the emotional impacts, encouragement to keep a diary, and the introduction of weekly psychosocial rounds, on the perceptions of relatives of patients in the intensive care unit.
Background:  Patient- and family-centred care is gaining interest, with a shift from provider-centric norms to care arranged around patients’ and relatives individual beliefs and needs. This is expected to have a positive influence on the quality of care. Communication is one of the most important factors impacting the perceived quality of care in the intensive care unit from the perspective of patients’ relatives. New interventions have been introduced to help the patients’ relatives to meet their communication needs.
Design:  A time-trend quantitative design.
Methods:  Two convenience samples of relatives were included (in 2012 and 2013) in four different intensive care units from a large university medical centre in the Netherlands.
Results:  Survey data from 211 relatives (75% net response rate in 2012) and 123 relatives (66% net response rate in 2013) were used for the analysis. The second measurement showed significant improvements regarding informational aspects of care, clarification of roles in participatory caretaking and shared decision-making.
Conclusions:  The results suggest that the additional support offered to patients’ relatives increased perceived quality of care, particularly with respect to informational needs. However, patient- and family-centred care still requires a change in the mindset of healthcare professionals. This new point of view should overcome perceived barriers and foster a culture of partnership with patients’ relatives in the intensive care unit.
Relevance to Clinical Practice:  Training in providing psychosocial support for the needs of relatives leads to a stronger perception of patient-centredness.
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