Impact of critical care medicine training programs' palliative care education and bedside tools on ICU use at the end of life.
BACKGROUND: Intensive care unit (ICU) use at the end of life is rising. Little research has focused on associations among critical care fellows' training, institutional support, and bedside tools with ICU use at the end of life.
OBJECTIVE: We evaluated whether hospital and critical care medicine program interventions were associated with ICU use in the last 6 months of life for patients with chronic illness.
METHODS: Our observational, retrospective study explored associations between results from a survey of critical care program directors and hospital-level Medicare data on ICU use in the last 6 months of life. Program directors evaluated quality of palliative care education in their critical care fellowships and reported on the number of bedside tools and the presence or absence of an inpatient palliative care consultation service.
RESULTS: For the 89 hospitals and 71 affiliated training programs analyzed, there were statistically significant relationships between 2 of the explanatory variables-the quality of palliative care education and the number of bedside tools-in ICU use. Each level of increased educational quality (1-5 Likert scale) was associated with a 0.57-day decrease in ICU days, whereas, for each additional, evidence-based bedside tool, there was a 0.31-day decrease. The presence of an inpatient palliative care program was not a significant predictor of ICU use.
CONCLUSIONS: We found that the quality of palliative care training in critical care medicine programs and the use of bedside tools were independently associated with reduced ICU use at the end of life.
Published In/Presented At
Saft, H. L., Richman, P. S., Berman, A. R., Mularski, R. A., Kvale, P. A., Ray, D. E., Selecky, P., Ford, D. W., & Asch, S. M. (2014). Impact of critical care medicine training programs' palliative care education and bedside tools on ICU use at the end of life. Journal of graduate medical education, 6(1), 44–49. https://doi.org/10.4300/JGME-06-01-38
Medicine and Health Sciences
Department of Medicine