Assistance program for families of critically ill patients expands across the U.S.

(Northbrook, IL, October 7, 2003) A multidisciplinary program that provides support for families with loved ones in hospital intensive care units (ICUs) and education to the health-care teams is now expanding across the country. The Critical Care Family Assistance Program (CCFAP), created by The CHEST Foundation and the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, was developed in 2001 to respond to the unmet needs of families of critically ill patients in hospital ICUs. After implementing the program in two pilot sites last year, The CHEST Foundation and the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation are in the process of expanding the CCFAP to nine sites across the U.S. and have developed a replication toolkit to allow hospitals to implement the program in their ICUs.

Over seven million Americans are caregivers to family members, mostly to parents, who are suffering long-term illnesses in intensive care units. The strain of traveling four hours on average, sleeping on waiting room couches, and eating from vending machines takes its toll on family members, making life and death decisions more difficult. The CHEST Foundation and Eli Lilly and Company Foundation recognized this problem and created the Critical Care Family Assistance Program to provide families with stronger support and resources during a loved one's ICU stay.

Pilot programs implemented last year at Veterans Administration Medical Center in Oklahoma City, OK, and Evanston Hospital in Evanston, IL, proved to be an important component of the ICU, impacting the delivery of critical care and outcomes for patients and families. The programs also found an increased level of staff satisfaction, therefore increasing staff retention and the ability to attract high quality staff.

Due to the success of the pilot programs, The CHEST Foundation and Eli Lilly and Company Foundation have expanded the program to Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston, TX, and Highland Park Hospital, in Highland Park, IL, and a

Contact: Arielle Green
American College of Chest Physicians

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