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Study protocol to assess the effectiveness and safety of a flexible family visitation model for delirium prevention in adult intensive care units: a cluster-randomised, crossover trial (The ICU Visits Study)

13 Apr 2018

Introduction

Flexible intensive care unit (ICU) visiting hours have been proposed as a means to improve patient-centred and family-centred care. However, randomised trials evaluating the effects of flexible family visitation models (FFVMs) are scarce. This study aims to compare the effectiveness and safety of an FFVM versus a restrictive family visitation model (RFVM) on delirium prevention among ICU patients, as well as to analyse its potential effects on family members and ICU professionals.

Methods and analysis

A cluster-randomised crossover trial involving adult ICU patients, family members and ICU professionals will be conducted. Forty medical-surgical Brazilian ICUs with RFVMs (<4.5 hours/day) will be randomly assigned to either an RFVM (visits according to local policies) or an FFVM (visitation during 12 consecutive hours per day) group at a 1:1 ratio. After enrolment and follow-up of 25 patients, each ICU will be switched over to the other visitation model, until 25 more patients per site are enrolled and followed. The primary outcome will be the cumulative incidence of delirium among ICU patients, measured twice a day using the Confusion Assessment Method for the ICU. Secondary outcome measures will include daily hazard of delirium, ventilator-free days, any ICU-acquired infections, ICU length of stay and hospital mortality among the patients; symptoms of anxiety and depression and satisfaction among the family members; and prevalence of burnout symptoms among the ICU professionals. Tertiary outcomes will include need for antipsychotic agents and/or mechanical restraints, coma-free days, unplanned loss of invasive devices and ICU-acquired pneumonia, urinary tract infection or bloodstream infection among the patients; self-perception of involvement in patient care among the family members; and satisfaction among the ICU professionals.

Ethics and dissemination

The study protocol has been approved by the research ethics committee of all participant institutions. We aim to disseminate the findings through conferences and peer-reviewed journals.

Trial registration

NCT02932358.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open