Being discharged from an intensive care unit is good news for a patient. Researchers at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Nursing and Health Studies are working to make sure it stays that way.
Intensive-care unit survivors are often overlooked for follow-up care. But two million of the five million Americans admitted to ICUs annually have or develop acute respiratory failure that often can lead to long-term cognitive, functional and psychological impairments known as post-intensive care syndrome.
Researchers believe a specialized recovery program, delivered in the patient’s home, can reduce the incidence of this syndrome among those discharged from ICUs. A $3.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute funds the implementation and evaluation of a novel mobile critical-care recovery program by researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine and the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Nursing and Health Studies.
This multidisciplinary research team anticipates that the outcome of this five-year trial could lead to the adoption of mobile critical-care recovery programs that could make a difference in the quality of life for intensive care survivors nationwide.
“This is an opportunity for clinicians to assist ICU survivors with reaching their highest potential of recovery,” said Sue Lasiter, Ph.D., R.N., associate professor at UMKC’s School of Nursing and Health Studies and co-investigator on the grant.
“This program is key for ICU survivors who have a hard time getting transportation to healthcare providers or who don’t feel well enough to travel to an ICU survivor clinic,” Lasiter said. Instead of risking rehospitalization and increased health care costs due to lack of post-hospital care, the mobile critical-care recovery program takes healthcare to the patients where they’re most accessible: At home.
Each patient in the trial will be followed for 12 months, significantly longer than previous studies of ICU survivors. During that year, the mobile care coordinator will visit ICU survivors every two weeks with support from a multidisciplinary team including an ICU physician, a geriatrician, a neuropsychologist and an ICU symptom management nurse. Lasiter is the only nurse member of the support team.
The research team will meet on a weekly basis to develop and continually revise a personalized recovery plan that incorporates patient and caregiver goals. Lasiter says her mobile critical care recovery program has two unique benefits: the team is composed of critical care specialists who are familiar with the problems these patients frequently encounter; and the team involves the patients as members of their own care- planning team.
“This makes it truly patient-centered,” Lasiter said.
Lasiter joined the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies in August 2016 from Indiana University.
“Having a doctoral-level nurse scholar, Dr. Sue Lasiter, as an essential member of this research team affirms the value of an interprofessional approach to researching interventions which can improve care outcomes for our patients,” said Ann Cary, dean of the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies.