Objectives: Patient care rounds are a key mechanism by which healthcare providers communicate and make patient care decisions in the ICU but no synthesis of best practices for rounds currently exists. Therefore, we systematically reviewed the evidence for facilitators and barriers to patient care rounds in the ICU.
Data Sources: Search of Medline, Embase, CINAHL, PubMed, and the Cochrane library through September 21, 2012.
Study Selection: Original, peer-reviewed research studies (no methodological restrictions) were selected, which described current practices, facilitators, or barriers to healthcare provider rounding in the ICU.
Data Extraction: Two authors with methodological and content expertise independently abstracted data using a prespecified abstraction tool.
Data Synthesis: The literature search identified 7,373 citations. Reviews of abstracts led to the retrieval of 136 full text articles for assessment; 43 articles in three languages (English, German, Spanish) were selected for review. Of these, 13 were ethnographic studies and 15 uncontrolled before-after studies. Six studies used control groups, including one cross-over randomized, one time-series, three cohort, and one controlled before-after study. A total of 13 facilitators and 9 barriers to patient care rounds were identified through a narrative and meta-synthesis of included studies. Identified facilitators suggest that the quality of rounds is improved when conducted by a multidisciplinary group of providers, with explicitly defined roles, using a standardized structure and goal-oriented approach that includes a best practices checklist. Barriers to quality patient care rounds include poor information retrieval and documentation, interruptions, long rounding times, and allied healthcare provider perceptions of not being valued by rounding physicians.
Conclusions: Although the evidence base for best practices of patient care rounds in the ICU is limited, several practical and low-risk practices can be considered for implementation. (Crit Care Med 2013; 41:2015–2029)