Continuity Strategies for Long-Stay PICU Patients: Consensus Statements from the Lucile Packard Foundation PICU Continuity Panel
Children who require extended stays in Pediatric Intensive Care Units (PICUs) have higher rates of medical errors, morbidity, and mortality than other patients. This is often due to providers having to change shifts frequently, which can lead to fragmented care and communication challenges. Prolonged hospitalizations cause obstacles and stress for everyone involved—patients, families, providers, and institutions. Families, for example, may face social isolation and financial burden due to the experience.
To date there have been no agreed-upon standard practices to ensure continuity of care for long-stay patients. Existing strategies are underutilized and understudied because they are done differently at each institution and may not have been evaluated rigorously. A multidisciplinary panel composed of parents of children with prolonged stays in PICUs and specialists who care for children with medical complexity developed PICU Continuity Consensus standards. These standards offer practical guidance for hospitals and providers and have been endorsed by the Society of Critical Care Medicine.