Providers spend less time on rounds with patients sent to alternate ICUs

Patients placed in alternate intensive care units due to overcrowding — for example, a brain surgery patient being placed in a cardiac ICU — receive less attention from provider care teams, according to a study published in the American Journal of Surgery.

Researchers examined 500 routine clinical rounds at a surgical ICU. Researchers from Philadelphia-based Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania conducted the study.

The study shows providers spend about 16 percent less time on rounds with patients in alternate ICUs compared to those in the correct ICU for the procedure they underwent.

Providers were more likely to visit patients in alternate ICUs at the end of rounds. Around 71 percent of these patients were seen in the last fifth of rounds, as compared to 13 percent of patients in the correct ICU.

"It's 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," said Andrew M. Nunn, MD, the study's lead author and an assistant professor of surgery at Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Wake Forest School of Medicine, who was a fellow in traumatology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the time of the study.

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