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A Journal on Anesthesiology, Resuscitation, Analgesia and Intensive Care

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Anesthesiology, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care
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Minerva Anestesiologica 2016 July;82(7):797-803

language: English

How to improve communication quality with patients and relatives in the ICU

Stephen WARRILLOW 1, 2, KJ FARLEY 3, Daryl JONES 1, 2, 4

1 Department of Intensive Care, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Australia; 2 The University of Melbourne, Department of Surgery, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Australia; 3 Department of Intensive Care, Western Health, Footscray, Australia; 4 Monash University, School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine, Clayton, Australia


The experience of intensive care for patients and their families is known to be very stressful and may result in both acute and chronic psychological problems that include sleep disturbance, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. While some non-modifiable risk factors for psychological harm are known, there are also a several modifiable risk factors that may be addressed using strategically planned interventions such as optimal communication techniques. Effective communication is increasingly being recognized as an essential non-technical skills for all intensive care clinicians. One situation which is central to communication in the ICU is the family meeting. Similar to other procedures in the ICU, training, practice, preparation and reflective review may improve performance when conducting family meetings and lead to better outcomes for patients and families.

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