Family Engagement in the Adult Cardiac Intensive Care Unit: A Survey of Family Engagement Practices in the Cardiac Critical Care Trials Network.

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BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular and critical care professional societies recommend incorporating family engagement practices into routine clinical care. However, little is known about current family engagement practices in contemporary cardiac intensive care units (CICUs).

METHODS: We implemented a validated 12-item family engagement practice survey among site investigators participating in the Critical Care Cardiology Trials Network, a collaborative network of CICUs in North America. The survey includes 9 items assessing specific engagement practices, 1 item about other family-centered care practices, and 2 open-ended questions on strategies and barriers concerning family engagement practice. We developed an engagement practice score by assigning 1 point for each family engagement practice partially or fully adopted at each site (max score 9). We assessed for relationships between the engagement practice score and CICU demographics.

RESULTS: All sites (N=39; 100%) completed the survey. The most common family engagement practices were open visitation (95%), information and support to families (85%), structured care conferences (n=82%), and family participation in rounds (77%). The median engagement practice score was 5 (interquartile range, 4). There were no differences in engagement practice scores by geographic region or CICU type. The most commonly used strategies to promote family engagement were family presence during rounds (41%), communication (28%), and family meetings (28%). The most common barriers to family engagement were COVID-related visitation policies (38%) and resource limitations (13%).

CONCLUSIONS: Family engagement practices are routinely performed in many CICUs; however, considerable variability exists. There is a need for strategies to address the variability of family engagement practices in CICUs.

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Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Medicine, Department of Medicine Fellows and Residents, Fellows and Residents

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