Characteristics, ICU Interventions, and Clinical Outcomes of Patients With Palliative Care Triggers in a Mixed Community-Based Intensive Care Unit


East Florida


Aventura Hospital and Medical Center

Document Type


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critical care, intensive care, multidisciplinary, palliative care, quality improvement


Critical Care | Internal Medicine | Palliative Care


Objective: Integration of palliative care initiatives in the intensive care unit (ICU) benefit patients and improve outcomes. Palliative care triggers (PCTs) is a screening tool that aides in stratifying patients who would benefit most from an early palliative care approach. There is no consensus on PCT selection or best timing for implementation. We evaluated the clinical characteristics, ICU and palliative care interventions, and clinical outcomes of critically ill patients with PCT in a community-based mixed ICU. Methods: This retrospective study was conducted in a 44-bed adult, mixed ICU in a 407-bed community-based teaching hospital in Florida. Eleven PCTs were used as a screening tool during multidisciplinary rounds (MDRs). Patients were analyzed based on presence or absence of PCT as well as having met high (>2) versus low (<2) PCT. Data collected included patient demographics, ICU resource utilization and clinical outcomes. We considered a two-sided P value of less than .05 to indicate statistical significance with a 95% confidence interval. Results: Of 388 ICU patients, 189 (48.7%) met at least 1 PCT and 199 (51.3%) did not. The trigger group had higher Acute Physiology and Chronic Evaluation (APACHE) and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) scores within 24 h of ICU admission. The most common PCTs identified were ICU length of stay greater than 7 days or readmission to ICU, terminal prognosis and assisting family in transitioning goals of care. There were statistically significant differences in ICU resource utilization, palliative care interventions, and overall worse clinical outcomes in the trigger-detected group. Similar findings were seen in the cohort with high PCT (>2). Conclusions: Our study supports the implementation of a tailored 11-item palliative care screening tool to effectively identify ICU patients with high ICU and palliative care interventions and worse clinical outcomes.

Publisher or Conference

Journal of Palliative Care