Surgery patients placed in alternate ICUs have worse outcomes

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Patients staying in non-preferred units often receive less attention from medical teams.

Clinicians are being encouraged to visit patients ’boarding’ in non-preferred intensive care units (ICUs), at the start of their patient rounds rather than the end, to help ensure patients get the appropriate amount of attention they need.

A new study has found that the practice of placing patients in alternative ICUs rather than those they are most suited to, may lead to worse outcomes.

For the study, researchers systematically examined more than 500 routine clinical encounters between caregivers and patients associated with a surgical ICU. They found boarders were far more likely to be visited by caregiver teams at the end of rounds and that caregivers spent about 16 per cent less time on rounds with boarder patients compared to non-boarding patients.
Lead author, Dr Andrew M. Nunn said it is “imperative that critical care providers be aware of this apparent tendency for ICU boarders to receive less attention so that they can develop interventions to correct the discrepancy”.

Future studies will now be undertaken to assess the effectiveness of the new intervention.

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