Among critically ill patients and their surrogates, a family-support intervention delivered by the interprofessional ICU team did not significantly affect the surrogates burden of psychological symptoms, according to results of the PARTNER trial. Researchers note, however, that the surrogates ratings of the quality of communication and the patient- and family-centredness of care were better and the length of stay in the ICU was shorter with the intervention than with usual care.The multicentre, stepped-wedge, cluster-randomised PARTNER (Pairing Re-engineered ICU Teams with Nurse-Driven Emotional Support and Relationship-Building) trial was conducted by Douglas B. White, MD, Department of Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues. A total of 1,420 patients with a high risk of death were enrolled in the study; the results are published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Surrogate decision makers for incapacitated, critically ill patients often struggle with decisions related to goals of care. Such decisions cause psychological distress in surrogates and may lead to treatment that does not align with patients preferences. Although guidelines from professional societies recommend strategies for supporting the families of critically ill patients, evidence suggests that many families who might benefit from such support do not receive it.

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