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

nticipate five additional sites by 2005. Program elements vary for each site but may include a computerized kiosk that provides information about specific diseases, hospital services, and the critical care environment; staff, pastoral, and social services; parking and wayfaring maps; and recommendations for local hotel accommodations and dining. Communications devices, motel and meal vouchers, taxi coupons, bus tickets, and phone cards for family members, and family sleeping and consultation rooms, are other core program components.

As part of the expansion, The CHEST Foundation is offering a replication toolkit to provide hospitals with critical information and tools for implementing the CCFAP in their own ICUs. The replication toolkit takes ICUs through all the steps of the program, including design and planning, implementation, evaluation, and sharing data, as well as providing an extensive checklist for program coordinators. The design section lays out the plan and explains how to get organized; the implementation section demonstrates success factors. The evaluating and improving sections outline critical components of the replication process and the sharing section provides tools to facilitate communicating the success to other institutions. The new toolkit will be available by spring 2004 both in hardcopy and on CD-ROM.

"We are very pleased with the success of the pilot programs in Oklahoma and Illinois," said Diane Stover, MD, FCCP, President of The CHEST Foundation. "We hope this toolkit will guide other critical care units that would like to respond to the needs of family members of critically ill patients."

For caregivers to qualify for the program, they must have an immediate family member in the ICU, with the patient expecting a long-term stay, and be traveling a long distance to get to the hospital. Both family members and health-care professionals are given a chance to provide feedback about their ICU experience in a s

Contact: Arielle Green
American College of Chest Physicians

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