A description of the ICU liaison nurse role in Argentina
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BACKGROUND: Recognising and responding to clinical deterioration in hospital patients has been promoted by many western countries to improve patient safety. In non-western and developing countries it is likely to be even more important to focus on strategies of patient safety. This paper reflects the services provided by Intensive Care Unit Liaison Nurses (ICULN) in the first year of their work, July 2010-June 2011, in an Argentinean hospital. OBJECTIVES: This practice audit aimed to describe the ICULN patient care activities performed for patients discharged from the ICU and ward patients with complex care needs, and to identify education activities carried with ward nursing staff caring for these patients. METHODS: Experienced critical care nurses, with strong communication and education skills were appointed as ICULNs. They were asked to assess ward patients transferred from ICU once per shift and ward patients as requested by staff. They had to provide patient complex care if necessary and education to ward nurses caring for these patients. RESULTS: A total of 387 patients were followed by ICULNs. The median age of patients was 49 (IQR 26) years (range 15-89). A total of 369 (95.3%) of the patients were discharged from ICU and 18 (4.7%) were ward patients who required complex care. The most frequent conditions patients had were surgery, neurologic conditions, trauma and sepsis. Thirty four (9.2%) of 369 patients who were initially in ICU, were readmitted during the same hospitalisation. During the study period ICULNs performed 5973 patient care and 1709 staff education activities. CONCLUSION: ICULNs provide advanced assessment and surveillance of ICU discharged and complex ward patients, and facilitate ICU-ward transition assisting and educating ward staff. Further evaluation is necessary to better describe the role in Argentina and the effect of ICULN service on patient outcomes and on staff.
Intensive & critical care nursing
Clinical Nursing: Secondary (Acute Care)