Family Members of Patients Who Die in the ICU Report Greater Satisfaction with Communication and Involvement than Family Members of ICU Survivors
A recent study partially funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research found that family members of loved ones who died in the intensive care unit tend to be more satisfied with the care they and the patient received than family members of ICU survivors.
Schmalfeldt: At first glance, it might seem counterintuitive. But a recent study partially funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research found that family members of loved ones who died in the intensive care unit tend to be more satisfied with the care they and the patient received than family members of ICU survivors. According to the study, family members of all ICU patients tended to rate their loved one's physical care highly. But it was the family members of loved ones who died in the ICU who tended to be more pleased with their involvement in decision-making and communications, as well as the emotional support, respect, compassion and consideration they and the patient received. Dr. Patricia A. Grady, Director of the NINR, discussed some of the reasons for this finding.
Grady: It does underscore the importance of communication, particularly in times of crisis—that the family members and the health team members and the patient, that the communication system is good between all these major parties. And it turns out that it has a high level of importance and is such a strong factor that regardless of the outcome, if the communication is good and the people understand what are the issues, what are the problems, what is being done, what is possible, what is not possible, that they report more satisfaction.
Schmalfeldt: Dr. Grady said these findings point to ways to improve the ICU experience and decrease stress for all ICU patients and their families. The study was published in the November 13 issue of the journal Chest and received additional funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Lung Association. From the National Institutes of Health, I'm Bill Schmalfeldt in Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Bill Schmalfeldt
Sound Bite: Dr. Patricia A. Grady