family communication, family meeting, ICU nurse communication, palliative care in ICU



  1. Fox, Maria Yolanda MS, BSN, APRN-CNS, ACHPN, CCRN


Good, effective communication among critically ill patients, their families, and providers is often challenging and complex. The concerns and dissatisfaction about poor communication with providers from patients facing a life-limiting illness and their families are well known. Often, patients cannot speak for themselves; thus, family members become the surrogate spokesperson for the critically ill patient. Successful interventions have been identified to improve communication such as the team approach to communication, the formal family meeting, a bundled checklist approach, and use of advanced practice nurses. However, in large part, the bedside intensive care unit (ICU) nurse's role has been diluted in those interventions. Developing ICU nurses' mastery of communication skills using palliative care principles is gaining momentum as an effective strategy. The ICU nurse can be a strong leader for good, effective communication for ICU patients and their families when palliative care strategies are utilized.