The Society of Critical Care Medicine’s (SCCM) THRIVE Research Grant to Accelerate Recovery is awarded to an SCCM member who is conducting research aimed at improving patient and family support after critical illness. This grant is part of the THRIVE Initiative, which aims to help educate patients, their families and the healthcare community about post-intensive care syndrome and provide resources for how to thrive after an intensive care unit (ICU) stay.
This past year, Society member and 2016 grant recipient, Bradford D. Winters, MD, PhD, FCCM, was awarded $50,000 for his research titled “Patient/Family Engagement in the Transitions of Post-ICU Care for Mechanically Ventilated Patients.”
This research originated from a project funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to reduce ventilatorassociated harm, which raised questions for Dr. Winters and his research team: To what extent are patients and families kept informed of the process care measures that have been shown to reduce harm, such as head-of-bed elevation, spontaneous awakening trials, spontaneous breathing trial coordination, oral care, and control and avoidance of delirium and early mobility? And what is their level of knowledge, involvement and willingness to be involved in these process measures and patient care?
According to Dr. Winters, the research team recognized this as an opportunity to ask, “Where can we as ICU providers do better?” They wanted to examine the consequences of post-ICU and post-mechanical ventilation care, whether or not the ICU provided guidance, what worked and what did not work, whether there were failures in the transitions of care, and what the overall experience was for patients and their families.
“One thing that we clearly heard in our focus groups was that patients are really in need and would take full advantage of centralized resources from an organization like SCCM, including support groups and contacts as well as educational and descriptive materials to help them with the postICU transition process,” Dr. Winters shared when discussing the team’s findings.
In future research, Dr. Winters said that he and his team plan to develop an “intervention package” based on these findings that can be implemented as part of patient care and that will “augment what SCCM is already doing to support our patients who require mechanical ventilation.”
When asked what advice he would give future research grant applicants, Dr. Winters advised, “Have a good mentor for the proposal and, if you can, leverage other related projects, perhaps work that is already underway in your unit or hospital but that has an avenue or aspect that is missing and deserves to be addressed and is patient- and family-focused.”