ICU support groups are widely recommended to mitigate the effects of stress on staff performance, thereby improving patient care. The usefulness of a nursing-staff support group was assessed in the neonatal ICUs of both a city/county hospital (10,000 births/yr) and a private hospital (3200 births/yr). Support-group meetings focused on communication and patient care and were conducted every 1 to 2 wk by psychiatrists experienced in intensive care support groups. Nevertheless, attendance diminished and the groups lasted only 6 to 7 months. Moreover, the quality of routine, emergency, and overall care did not differ significantly during intervention vs. control months. Our findings suggest that sources of ICU stress may be best addressed by methods other than nursing-staff support groups. Under the conditions of the study, we found little evidence to justify the expense and effort required to conduct ICU support groups.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine