When a patient is admitted in the ICU, family members want to stay with this relative and know how he/she is.

The information about the patient evolution is an encounter between family and staff. This encounter is essential for families, and we should humanize the enviroment where it happens, because:

Patient has the right about confidentiality of the state of health, in the terms established by the Spanish law 41/2002 “Basic regulating the autonomy of the patient and the rights and obligations in the field of information and clinical documentation” and in cases where the patient expresses it explicitly or tacitly, or lacks the ability to understand information by his or her physical or psychic situation, family members will also be informed.

This is the main reason to create information rooms. It is necessary to have rooms where families and health workers can meet in a space that guarantees the privacy and confidentiality in addition to guaranteeing the appropriate environmental conditions.

The numbers of information rooms depends on the number of beds in the ICU, being my recommendation at least two as this can be reported simultaneously to two families. In this way, if a meeting is lengthened because of the queries that the relatives can make or because they need more time to assimilate the information, this process will not collapse.

Its location must be close to the living rooms of the unit to be a fluid transit and do not have to wait in hallways, for example.

It is important that the room is a closed space where the interlocutors cannot be seen. That’s how we guarantee intimacy. To avoid interruptions in the communication it is advisable to install an outside pilot that indicates that the room is occupied.

Once the location and main features of the room are defined, it is important to design a humanized space. Creating a warm and friendly environment where the family feels comfortable and welcome will be of great help to them as they are subject to stress and anxiety. To create this environment we flee from the typical office or hospital decoration. Let’s provide the family with a room that simulates a home space, where the furniture is comfortable and with a warm design.

I propose to replace the table and the chairs by a sofa with an auxiliary table, in which the people who interact can sit together, looking face to face and avoid that barrier that is created with the table of an office.

More elements that provide a comfortable atmosphere to the room are the natural light and outside views. It is also advisable to incorporate plants to these spaces as well as providing warmth also provide well-being to the environment, helping to reduce noise up to 5 decibels, reducing stress and anxiety by 37%, depression by 58%, anger in 44% and fatigue by 38%.

Regarding to the decoration of the space it is advisable to create a neutral space, using materials like wood, with some detail of color like a painting or punctual decorative element.

A humanized information room is an intimate and simple space that moves you to a homey, warm, comfortable space that guarantees privacy to families and patients.

Let´s change information desk to information rooms!

By Mónica Ferrero