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Communication with patients and families in the ICU 

Communication with patients and families in the ICU
Communication with patients and families in the ICU

Leslie P. Scheunemann

and Robert M. Arnold

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date: 01 July 2022

Regular, consistent communication with families of intensive care unit (ICU) patients is important for family satisfaction, patient-centred decision-making, and reducing the emotional burden of the ICU stay on family members. In fact, the family meeting can appropriately be considered a core procedure of intensive care practice. Good communication requirements include the appropriate clinicians and family members, providing a quiet and undisturbed setting, and choosing appropriate goals for each meeting. Clinicians should strive to develop skills for listening, observing family dynamics, and responding to emotions. ICU administrators should consider building processes of care to promote regular, consistent communication and partnerships with interdisciplinary teams, such as ethics committees and palliative care that can supplement these skills.

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