For a study, researchers sought to assess pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) patient and family outcomes and the acceptance of a continuous care intensivist (CCI) as an attending. Patient-parent dyads hospitalized in the PICU for 7 days were recruited and randomly allocated to either usual care (UC) or a CCI. Volunteer PICU attendings received communication skills training and established expectations for weekly parent and team engagement as part of the intervention. Parents completed questions concerning parental anxiety and depression and satisfaction with communication (PFS-ICU) before enrolment and after PICU discharge. Following the trial, CCI and UC attendees were polled regarding the acceptability of the intervention. For the primary duration of stay and secondary parent outcomes, intention to treat analysis using multivariate linear regression was utilized, adjusting for parent age, race, and enrolment date.

About 114 patient-parent dyads (58 CCI, 56 usual care) participated; the average child was 5.8 years old, male (57%), White (50%), and had a respiratory failure (96%); the average parent was 36.7 years old, female (80%), White (50%), and had a respiratory failure (59%). The CCI intervention did not affect the length of stay in the PICU (average CCI 31.6 vs. UC 35.2; P=0.5). CCI intervention had no significant impact on physician communication (P=0.55), decision-making satisfaction (P=0.25), parental anxiety (P=0.79), or sadness (P=0.68). About 80% of CCI providers and 70% of other PICU attendings thought that having a CCI resulted in more efficient patient decision-making.

The CCI intervention had no substantial influence on PICU duration of stay or family outcomes, although it was thought to be beneficial to attendings.