Family meetings in the intensive care unit are associated with beneficial outcomes for patients, their families, and health care systems, yet these meetings often do not occur in a timely, effective, reliable way.
The Department of Veterans Affairs Comprehensive End-of-Life Care Implementation Center sponsored a national initiative to improve family meetings in Veterans Affairs intensive care units across the United States. Process measures of success for the initiative were identified, including development of a curriculum to support facility-based quality improvement projects to implement high-quality family meetings.
Identified curriculum requirements included suitability for distance learning and applicability to many clinical intensive care units. Curriculum modules were cross-mapped to the “Plan-Do-Study-Act” model to aid in planning quality improvement projects. A questionnaire was e-mailed to users to evaluate the curriculum’s effectiveness.
Users rated the curriculum’s effectiveness in supporting and achieving aims of the initiative as 3.6 on a scale of 0 (not effective) to 4 (very effective). Users adapted the curriculum to meet local needs. The number of users increased from 6 to 17 quality improvement teams in 2 years. All but 3 teams progressed to implementation of an action plan.
Users were satisfied with the effectiveness and adaptability of a family-meeting quality improvement curriculum to support implementation of a quality improvement project in Veterans Affairs intensive care units. This tool may be useful in facilitating projects to improve the quality of family meetings in other intensive care units.