A Randomized Trial of a Family-Support Intervention in Intensive Care Units

This piece of experimental research by White and colleagues was published in the June 21st issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Background:  Surrogate decision makers for incapacitated, critically ill patients often struggle with decisions related to goals of care. Such decisions cause psychological distress in surrogates and may lead to treatment that does not align with patients’ preferences.
Methods:  We conducted a stepped-wedge, cluster-randomized trial involving patients with a high risk of death and their surrogates in five intensive care units (ICUs) to compare a multi-component family-support intervention delivered by the inter-professional ICU team with usual care. The primary outcome was the surrogates’ mean score on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) at 6 months (scores range from 0 to 42, with higher scores indicating worse symptoms). Pre-specified secondary outcomes were the surrogates’ mean scores on the Impact of Event Scale (IES; scores range from 0 to 88, with higher scores indicating worse symptoms), the Quality of Communication (QOC) scale (scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating better clinician-family communication), and a modified Patient Perception of Patient Centeredness (PPPC) scale (scores range from 1 to 4, with lower scores indicating more patient- and family-centered care), as well as the mean length of ICU stay.
Results:  A total of 1420 patients were enrolled in the trial. There was no significant difference between the intervention group and the control group in the surrogates’ mean HADS score at 6 months (11.7 and 12.0, respectively; beta coefficient, -0.34; 95% confidence interval [CI], -1.67 to 0.99; P=0.61) or mean IES score (21.2 and 20.3; beta coefficient, 0.90; 95% CI, -1.66 to 3.47; P=0.49). The surrogates’ mean QOC score was better in the intervention group than in the control group (69.1 vs. 62.7; beta coefficient, 6.39; 95% CI, 2.57 to 10.20; P=0.001), as was the mean modified PPPC score (1.7 vs. 1.8; beta coefficient, -0.15; 95% CI, -0.26 to -0.04; P=0.006). The mean length of stay in the ICU was shorter in the intervention group than in the control group (6.7 days vs. 7.4 days; incidence rate ratio, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.81 to 1.00; P=0.045), a finding mediated by the shortened mean length of stay in the ICU among patients who died (4.4 days vs. 6.8 days; incidence rate ratio, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.52 to 0.78; P<0.001).
Conclusions:  Among critically ill patients and their surrogates, a family-support intervention delivered by the inter-professional ICU team did not significantly affect the surrogates’ burden of psychological symptoms, but the surrogates’ ratings of the quality of communication and the patient- and family-centeredness of care were better and the length of stay in the ICU was shorter with the intervention than with usual care.
The printed copy of the New England Journal of Medicine is available in the Health Care Library on D Level of Rotherham Hospital.

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Patient, family and provider experiences with transfers from intensive care unit to hospital ward: a multicentre qualitative study

This article by de Grood and colleagues was published in the June 2018 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Background:  Transfer of patient care from an intensive care unit (ICU) to a hospital ward is often challenging, high risk and inefficient. We assessed patient and provider perspectives on barriers and facilitators to high-quality transfers and recommendations to improve the transfer process.
Methods:  We conducted semi-structured interviews of participants from a multicentre prospective cohort study of ICU transfers conducted at 10 hospitals across Canada. We purposively sampled 1 patient, 1 family member of a patient, 1 ICU provider, and 1 ward provider at each of the 8 English-speaking sites. Qualitative content analysis was used to derive themes, subthemes and recommendations.
Results:  The 35 participants described 3 interrelated, overarching themes perceived as barriers or facilitators to high-quality patient transfers: resource availability, communication and institutional culture. Common recommendations suggested to improve ICU transfers included implementing standardized communication tools that streamline provider-provider and provider-patient communication, using multimodal communication to facilitate timely, accurate, durable and mutually reinforcing information transfer; and developing procedures to manage delays in transfer to ensure continuity of care for patients in the ICU waiting for a hospital ward bed.
Interpretation:  Patient and provider perspectives attribute breakdown of ICU-to-ward transfers of care to resource availability, communication and institutional culture. Patients and providers recommend standardized, multimodal communication and transfer procedures to improve quality of care.
The full text of this article is freely available from the journal’s homepage via this link.

A Randomized Trial of a Family-Support Intervention in Intensive Care Units.

This article was published online by the New England Journal of Medicine during May 2018.
Background:  Surrogate decision makers for incapacitated, critically ill patients often struggle with decisions related to goals of care. Such decisions cause psychological distress in surrogates and may lead to treatment that does not align with patients’ preferences.
Methods:  We conducted a stepped-wedge, cluster-randomized trial involving patients with a high risk of death and their surrogates in five intensive care units (ICUs) to compare a multicomponent family-support intervention delivered by the interprofessional ICU team with usual care. The primary outcome was the surrogates’ mean score on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) at 6 months (scores range from 0 to 42, with higher scores indicating worse symptoms). Prespecified secondary outcomes were the surrogates’ mean scores on the Impact of Event Scale (IES; scores range from 0 to 88, with higher scores indicating worse symptoms), the Quality of Communication (QOC) scale (scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating better clinician-family communication), and a modified Patient Perception of Patient Centeredness (PPPC) scale (scores range from 1 to 4, with lower scores indicating more patient- and family-centered care), as well as the mean length of ICU stay.
Results:   A total of 1420 patients were enrolled in the trial. There was no significant difference between the intervention group and the control group in the surrogates’ mean HADS score at 6 months (11.7 and 12.0, respectively; beta coefficient, -0.34; 95% confidence interval [CI], -1.67 to 0.99; P=0.61) or mean IES score (21.2 and 20.3; beta coefficient, 0.90; 95% CI, -1.66 to 3.47; P=0.49). The surrogates’ mean QOC score was better in the intervention group than in the control group (69.1 vs. 62.7; beta coefficient, 6.39; 95% CI, 2.57 to 10.20; P=0.001), as was the mean modified PPPC score (1.7 vs. 1.8; beta coefficient, -0.15; 95% CI, -0.26 to -0.04; P=0.006). The mean length of stay in the ICU was shorter in the intervention group than in the control group (6.7 days vs. 7.4 days; incidence rate ratio, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.81 to 1.00; P=0.045), a finding mediated by the shortened mean length of stay in the ICU among patients who died (4.4 days vs. 6.8 days; incidence rate ratio, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.52 to 0.78; P<0.001).
Conclusions:  Among critically ill patients and their surrogates, a family-support intervention delivered by the interprofessional ICU team did not significantly affect the surrogates’ burden of psychological symptoms, but the surrogates’ ratings of the quality of communication and the patient- and family-centeredness of care were better and the length of stay in the ICU was shorter with the intervention than with usual care.
The print copy of this issue of “The New England Journal of Medicine” is available in the Healthcare Library on D Level of Rotherham General Hospital.

A qualitative study of factors that influence active family involvement with patient care in the ICU: Survey of critical care nurses

This article by Hetland et al was published in the February 2018 issue of “Intensive and critical care nursing”.
Objective:  Family caregiver involvement may improve patient and family outcomes in the intensive care unit. This study describes critical care nurses’ approaches to involving family caregivers in direct patient care.
Research Methodology and Design:  This is a qualitative content analysis of text captured through an electronic survey.
Setting:  A convenience sample of 374 critical care nurses in the United States who were subscribers to one of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses social media sites or electronic newsletters.
Main Outcome Measure:  Critical care nurses’ responses to five open-ended questions about their approaches to family involvement in direct patient care.
Findings:  Nurse, patient and family caregiver factors intersected in the context of the professional practice environment and the available resources for family care. Two main themes were identified: “Involving family caregivers in patient care in the intensive care unit requires careful assessment” and “There are barriers and facilitators to caregiver involvement in patient care in the intensive care unit.”
Conclusion:  Patient care demands, the professional practice environment and a lack of resources for families hindered nursing family caregiver involvement. Greater attention to these barriers as they relate to family caregiver involvement and clinical outcomes should be a priority in future research.
The full text of this article is available via the PDF that can be accessed via this link

Impact of prior ICU experience on ICU patient family members’ psychological distress: A descriptive study

This article by Lewis and Taylor was published in “Intensive and Critical Care Nursing” October 2017.

Objective:  To determine if current levels of anxiety, depression and acute stress disorder symptoms differ significantly among family members of intensive-care-unit patients depending upon previous intensive-care experience.

Research Design:  This study used a prospective, descriptive study design.

Setting:  Family members (N=127) from patients admitted within a 72-hour timeframe to the medical, surgical, cardiac and neurological intensive care units were recruited from waiting rooms at a medium-sized community hospital in the Southeastern United States.

Main outcome measures:  Participants completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, the Impact of Events Scale-Revised, the Acute Stress Disorder Scale and a demographic questionnaire.

Results:  A multivariate analysis revealed that family members of intensive-care-unit patients with a prior intensive-care experience within the past two years (n=56) were significantly more likely to report anxiety, depression and acute stress symptoms, Λ=0.92, F [4122]=2.70, p=0.034, partial η2=0.08, observed power=0.74.

Conclusion:  Results of this study show that family members’ psychological distress is higher with previous familial or personal intensive-care experience. Nurses need to assess for psychological distress in ICU family members and identify those who could benefit from additional support services provided in collaboration with multidisciplinary support professionals.

The full text of this article will usually be only available via the internet to those who have a personal subscription though some articles may be available freely without a password.  Library members can order individual articles via the Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust Library and Knowledge Service using the article requests online via this link.

Satisfaction with quality of ICU care for patients and families

Families’ perspectives are of great importance in evaluating quality of care in the intensive care unit (ICU). This Danish-Dutch study tested a European adaptation of the “Family Satisfaction in the ICU” (euroFS-ICU) | Critical Care

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Image source: Ricardo Díaz – Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The aim of the study was to examine assessments of satisfaction with care in a large cohort of Danish and Dutch family members and to examine the measurement characteristics of the euroFS-ICU.

Most family members were moderately or very satisfied with patient care, family care, information and decision-making, but areas with room for improvement were also identified. Psychometric assessments suggest that composite scores constructed from these items as representations of either overall satisfaction or satisfaction with specific sub-domains do not meet rigorous measurement standards. The euroFS-ICU and other similar instruments may benefit from adding reflective indicators.

Full reference: Jensen, H.I. et al. (2017) Satisfaction with quality of ICU care for patients and families: the euroQ2 project. Critical Care. 21:239

Coping with the stress in the cardiac intensive care unit: Can mindfulness be the answer?

Mothers of infants with complex congenital heart disease are exposed to increased stress which has been associated with numerous adverse health outcomes. The coping mechanisms these mothers use critically effect the familial illness adaptation and most likely infant outcomes | Journal of Pediatric Nursing

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Currently no data-based strategies have been developed for mothers to facilitate their coping, and proactively promote their adaptation in the critical care settings. A potential strategy is mindfulness which is currently used in other clinical settings with stress-reduction effects.

Highlights:

  • Mothers use emotion-regulatory coping mechanisms during the CICU stay.
  • Both active and passive strategies are used by mothers to cope with the stress.
  • Mindfulness is an acceptable and feasible approach to reduce mothers’ stress.
  • Early, tailored interventions can potentially provide long-term stress relief.

Full reference: Golfenshtein, N. et al. (2017) Coping with the stress in the cardiac intensive care unit: Can mindfulness be the answer? Journal of Pediatric Nursing. Published online: August 11, 2017