In 1990, I like many others was distressed by the high tech low touch environment of practice in ICU.

As I traveled around the US teaching critical care, I found that many had begun to act and had very creative ideas and solutions. To capture and build on them, we called for abstracts on 3 things:

– How to bring out the best in patients and families
– How to bring out the best in caregivers
– How to alter unit structure and design to create a more healing environment.

We invited the top 47 abstract submitters to a consensus conference supported by SCCM to build on these ideas. An incredible group of clinicians, clergy, architects, and patients gathered.

Although none of it was evidence based, this passionate group of change agents brain stormed together and came up with 560 action statements – ideas on how to foster more humane critical care.

Results of the Consensus Conference on Fostering more Human Critical Care: Creating a Healing Enviroment was 1st published in SCCM’s annual textbook  “State of the Art” in 1992.  They no longer publish this and it would be hard to find. Then it was republished in AACN’s Advanced Practice journal.

That was 26 years ago.

For me, it was the beginning of a long effort that has become progressively more main stream and embraced. Today, evidenced by Gabriel Heras´s work through the International Research Group Humanizing Intensive Care, the need to maximize our ability to reduce the suffering of our patients and their families is well recognized. Practitioners strive to improve their ICU experience.

You may find some ideas you have not thought of in the article summarizing these action statements.

Currently, research has matured to the point that SCCM’s American College of Critical Care Medicine is revising its evidence based guidelines on patient-family centered care.  There have been thousands of studies in this area published around the world.

The same feelings, the same needs around the world. Let´s do it alltogether.

Maurene Harvey