The impact of an ICU liaison nurse on discharge delay in patients after prolonged ICU stay

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, 2006, 34 (1), pp. 55 - 60
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The mismatch between intensive care unit (ICU) bed availability and demand may be improved with timely patient discharges, however little is known about the nature and contributing factors of discharge delays. This study investigated the impact of a specific intervention - the ICU liaison nurse role - in reducing ICU discharge delay using a prospective block intervention study. One hundred and eighty-six ICU patients (101 control and 85 liaison nurse intervention) with an ICU length of stay of three days or longer and who survived to ICU discharge were examined. The liaison nurse was involved in assessment of patients for transfer to the ward, with a major focus on coordinating patient transfer including liaison with ward staff prior to and following ICU discharge. Logistic regression was used to quantify the risk of discharge delay associated with the liaison nurse intervention with adjustment for potential confounding variables. While no demographic or clinical variables were significant predictors of ICU discharge delay, those in the liaison nurse group were almost three times less likely to experience a discharge delay of at least two hours and about 2.5 times less likely to experience a delay of four or more hours. The positive effect of the liaison nurse role in reducing the discharge delay remained after adjusting for potential confounders. We conclude that the liaison nurse role is effective in reducing the discharge delay in ICU transfer.
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