Effect of 24-hour mandatory versus on-demand critical care specialist presence on quality of care and family and provider satisfaction in the intensive care unit of a teaching hospital

Ognjen Gajic, Bekele Afessa, Andrew C. Hanson, Tami Krpata, Murat Yilmaz, Shehab F. Mohamed, Jeffrey T. Rabatin, Laura K. Evenson, Timothy R. Aksamit, Steve G. Peters, Rolf D. Hubmayr, Mark E. Wylam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

170 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The benefit of continuous on-site presence by a staff academic critical care specialist in the intensive care unit of a teaching hospital is not known. We compared the quality of care and patient/family and provider satisfaction before and after changing the staffing model from on-demand to continuous 24-hr critical care specialist presence in the intensive care unit. DESIGN: Two-year prospective cohort study of patient outcomes, processes of care, and family and provider survey of satisfaction, organization, and culture in the intensive care unit. SETTING: Intensive care unit of a teaching hospital. PATIENTS: Consecutive critically ill patients, their families, and their caregivers. INTERVENTIONS: Introduction of night-shift coverage to provide continuous 24-hr on-site, as opposed to on-demand, critical care specialist presence. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Of 2,622 patients included in the study, 1,301 were admitted before and 1,321 after the staffing model change. Baseline characteristics and adjusted intensive care unit and hospital mortality were similar between the two groups. The nonadherence to evidence-based care processes improved from 24% to 16% per patient-day after the staffing change (p = .002). The rate of intensive care unit complications decreased from 11% to 7% per patient-day (p = .023). When adjusted for predicted hospital length of stay, admission source, and do-not-resuscitate status, hospital length of stay significantly decreased during the second period (adjusted mean difference -1.4, 95% confidence interval -0.3 to -2.5 days, p = .017). The new model was considered optimal for patient care by the majority of the providers (78% vs. 38% before the intervention, p < .001). Family satisfaction was excellent during both study periods (mean score 5.87 ± 1.7 vs. 5.95 ± 2.0, p = .777). CONCLUSIONS: The introduction of continuous (24-hr) on-site presence by a staff academic critical care specialist was associated with improved processes of care and staff satisfaction and decreased intensive care unit complication rate and hospital length of stay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-44
Number of pages9
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008



  • Complications
  • Intensive care
  • Nurses
  • Outcome
  • Quality
  • Residents
  • Shift
  • Specialist
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

Cite this