At the Center for Humanizing Critical Care,
we employ scientifically rigorous methods to help patients and family members make it through life-threatening illnesses and injuries with their humanity intact. Our goal is to transform the way we care for patients and families in intensive care units and related settings.
Sam Brown, MD, lead researcher of the Center for Humanizing Critical Care, explains why the center was created.
Hospital intensive care units (ICUs) exist to provide medical care to people with devastating diseases that threaten life and limb. ICUs are modern marvels of technology, but they have not historically been user friendly.
In the ICU, patients and their families face issues that are unfamiliar, overwhelming and often terrifying. Sometimes they are confronted with the possibility of death or new disability. While critical care medicine has made huge strides in recent years in terms of improving clinical outcomes, the medical profession hasn’t paid as much attention to the psychological trauma that occurs to patients and families in an ICU setting. This Center is about eliminating avoidable psychological harm to patients and their families through the use of rigorous research and community involvement.
We recognize that people process information and make decisions in different ways. Those individual differences are important. At the Center, we are performing research and developing tools that can be customized to the needs of individual patients and families. For example: some patients may prefer a web-based decision support tool. For another individual, in-person discussions with a social worker may be the best option. Some people may want every detail while others want very few details.
We also perform research to better understand and improve the outcomes that matter most to patients and their families.