Nurses in the intensive care unit are central to clinical care delivery and are often the staff members most accessible to family members for communication. Family members’ ratings of satisfaction with the intensive care unit admission are affected more by communication quality than by the level of care for the patient. Family members may feel that communication in the intensive care unit is inconsistent.
To use a shared decision-making model to deliver a communication education program for intensive care unit nurses, evaluate the confidence levels of nurses who undertook the education, and examine changes in family members’ satisfaction with communication from intensive care unit nurses after the nurses received the education.
A mixed-methods design was used. Seventeen nurses and 81 family members participated.
Staff members were overall very confident with communicating with family members of critically ill patients. This finding was likely linked to staff members’ experience in the position, with 88% of nurses having more than 11 years’ experience. Family members were happy with care but dissatisfied with the environment.
Environmental factors can negatively affect communication with family members in the intensive care unit.