ICU Management & Practice, ICU Volume 14 - Issue 1 - Spring 2014

Appendix 2a. ICU Observations. People.

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Your Role:

Your role is to be a neutral observer, with fresh eyes, of what you see during your ICU visit. We would like you to pay particular attention to the PEOPLE (patients, staff and family visitors): how they work, how they flow, how they affect the care and safety of patients. You may interview a staff member and/or patients or family members. Keep your questions pretty open--‐ended (e.g., not Yes--‐No questions) and continually ask "Why?" to get to the root causes of what you hear. Please write your observations in this pad.


Please look around you and observe what is happening: These are your personal observations based on your visit as well as your questioning of staff, patients and family. Think about, and jot down observations on:

• What surprises you about the ICU? Why?

• What do you see as some of the issues that staff, patients, and families face in the ICU?

• What are some work--‐arounds that you have seen (e.g., improvised ways to work around problems)?

• What are some of the ways you think we could fix the problems you have seen? Why?

• How would you feel if you were a staff member in the ICU? Why?

• How do you think patients and families feel? Why?


Here are some questions that may help you dig deeper: Feel free to improvise and create your own questions.

• How would you describe what it is like to be a (patient/family member, staff member) in the ICU? Why?

• What surprises you about working in or being a patient/family member in the ICU? Why?

• What are the best experiences you’ve had working here/ being a patient here/ being a family member here?

• What are some things that concern you about working in or being a patient/family member here?

• If you could fix the biggest problem in the ICU, what is it, and what would you do?

• Is there any way you can think of to improve the experience that you have here as an employee/as a patient/as a family member? What would it be?

• Do you see any risks to patient safety in this ICU that you would want to fix? What are they? How would you fix them?

• How do you think families of patients feel about visiting the ICU? What could be done to improve that? Why?

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