BACKGROUND: Providing optimal care for critically ill patients is an extremely important but also highly demanding task, both emotionally and physically. The "ICU Support" team meeting concept aims to support intensive care unit (ICU) teams by promoting interprofessional communication, peer support, and patient safety by providing a structure for daily team meetings. This protocol describes a study to explore the effectiveness of "ICU Support" for patient- and staff-centered outcomes.
METHODS: ICU Support will be implemented at nine university hospitals located in Germany, following a two-arm randomized parallel group design with an intervention and a control condition and three data collection periods. In the intervention arm, leading ICU personnel (physicians and nurses) will be trained in ICU Support and implement the ICU Support elements into the daily work routine of their units upon completion of data collection period T0 (baseline). In the control arm, ICU Support will not be implemented until the completion of the data collection period T1 (1 month after study start). Until then, the regular daily schedule of the ICU teams will be maintained. The final data collection period (T2) will take place 4 months after the start of the study. Primary outcomes include the number of intensive care complications per patient during their ICU stay during T1 and the sick-related absence of ICU staff during T1. Secondary outcomes include, among others, the average severity of intensive care complications per patient and employee self-reported data regarding their teamwork and patient safety behaviors.
DISCUSSION: The need for healthy and well-trained ICU staff is omnipresent; thus, structured and evidence-based interventions aimed at supporting ICU teams and facilitating patient safety are required. This multicenter study aims to explore the effectiveness of ICU Support for patient- and staff-centered outcomes. The insights derived from this study have the potential to significantly improve ICU patient safety, staff communication, and connectedness and decrease sickness-related expenses and social costs associated with high work demands among ICU staff.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: German Clinical Trials Register DRKS00028642 . Registered on 4 April 2022.