National critical care program benefits families, patients, and hospitals

A nationwide hospital program developed to support families visiting loved ones in the intensive care unit (ICU) has significant benefits for families, patients, and team members in the ICU, shows a new study. As reported in a supplement to the September issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), implementation of the Critical Care Family Assistance Program (CCFAP) significantly increased family satisfaction with communication with ICU team members and care of their loved one; decreased family stress; decreased patient anxiety; and increased staff communication and collaboration across hospital departments.

"Research shows that families are not entirely satisfied with their treatment within an ICU while a family member is under care, which can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety for both the family and patient. Yet, it is clear that addressing family needs in the ICU contributes to families' overall satisfaction with ICU care," said coauthor of the study D. Robert McCaffree, MD, Master FCCP, President of The CHEST Foundation and Chief of Staff, Oklahoma Medical Center, VA Medical Center, Oklahoma City, OK. "The Critical Care Family Assistance Program is the first replicable nationwide ICU program structured with the needs of both the patient and family in mind."

Developed by The CHEST Foundation, the CCFAP aims to improve family satisfaction with ICU communication and care by utilizing a multidisciplinary team of professionals who are dedicated to fostering an ICU environment where families feel well informed, comfortable, and safe. CCFAP teams at Evanston Hospital, Evanston, IL, and the VA Medical Center, Oklahoma City, OK, collected satisfaction data from 537 families of loved ones in the ICU and hospital staff prior to, and after, the implementation of the CCFAP. Surveys measured family stress level, family need for specific services, family satisfaction with ICU team communication and care rega

Contact: Jennifer Stawarz
American College of Chest Physicians

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