Survey data revealed that families of patients in a surgical intensive care unit were not satisfied with their participation in decision making or with how well the multidisciplinary team worked together.


To develop and implement an evidence-based communication algorithm and evaluate its effect in improving satisfaction among patients’ families.


A multidisciplinary team developed an algorithm that included bundles of communication interventions at 24, 72, and 96 hours after admission to the unit. The algorithm included clinical triggers, which if present escalated the algorithm. A pre-post design using process improvement methods was used to compare families’ satisfaction scores before and after implementation of the algorithm.


Satisfaction scores for participation in decision making (45% vs 68%; z = −2.62, P = .009) and how well the health care team worked together (64% vs 83%; z = −2.10, P = .04) improved significantly after implementation.


Use of an evidence-based structured communication algorithm may be a way to improve satisfaction of families of intensive care patients with their participation in decision making and their perception of how well the unit’s team works together.

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