Parents value clear communication with PICU clinicians about the possible patient and family outcomes (prognostic conversations). We describe PICU parent and attending physician reports and agreement regarding the occurrence of prognostic conversations. We queried parents and physicians about prognostic conversation content, which healthcare providers had prognostic conversations, and whether parents wanted more prognostic information.

Parents and attending physicians of PICU patients with multiple organ dysfunction within 24 hours of PICU admission. Surveys were administered to parents and attending PICU physicians 5–10 days after PICU admission. Surveys asked parents and physicians to report the occurrence of prognostic conversations related to PICU length of stay, risk of PICU mortality and anticipated post-PICU physical, neurologic, and psychologic morbidities for patients and post-PICU psychologic morbidities for parents. Of 101 participants, 87 parents and 83 physicians reported having prognostic conversations. Overall concordance between parents and physicians was fair (Kappa = 0.22). Parents and physicians most commonly reported prognostic conversations about PICU length of stay (67.3% and 63.3%, respectively) and patient post-PICU physical morbidity (n = 48; 48.5% and n = 45; 44.5% respectively). Conversations reported less often by parents and physicians were about patient post-PICU psychologic morbidity (n = 13; 12.9% and n = 20; 19.8%, respectively). Per parent reports, bedside nurses and physicians provided most prognostic information.

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