Implementation of a critical care outreach service: a qualitative study

A Jeddian, A Lindenmeyer, T Marshall, A F Howard, L Sayadi, A Rashidian, N Jafari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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AIM: The aim of this study was to explore hospital staff perceptions of the perceived challenges and outcomes of implementing a critical care outreach service.

BACKGROUND: A nurse-led critical care outreach service was designed and implemented to identify and treat acutely ill patients in a large tertiary care hospital in Iran.

METHODS: A qualitative analysis of data from two focus groups and seven interviews was carried out using conventional content analyses techniques. A total of 24 hospital staff members participated, including critical care outreach team members, physicians, ward head nurses and ward staff.

FINDINGS: Two main categories described the perceived challenges to the implementation of the critical care outreach service: 1) the hospital context, with four subcategories related to staff shortages, the instability of physician positions, the lack of specialized essential services and the absence of a system to establish do-not-resuscitate orders, and 2) staff resistance to different nursing priorities, routines and extra work. In two additional main categories, participants also described positive and negative perceived outcomes. The positive perceived outcomes included three subcategories of alleviating equipment shortages, improving nursing knowledge and patient care and improving patient and healthcare professional satisfaction.

DISCUSSION: While critical care outreach has the potential to improve patient perceived outcomes and both patient and provider satisfaction with care, the contextual and clinical realities in hospitals are significant and must be examined during the planning and implementation of future outreach.

CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING AND HEALTH POLICY: A critical care outreach service in the context of an Iranian hospital has the potential to improve ward nurse familiarity with the care of acutely ill patients and the quality of palliative care. However, attention ought to be paid to the hospital's structural and contextual factors. Alleviating nursing shortages, reducing staff resistance and preparing goals of care guidelines that address restrictions on resuscitation could facilitate implementation of critical care outreach services.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Nursing Review
Early online date29 May 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 May 2017


  • Acutely Ill Patients
  • Critical Care Outreach Service
  • Health Service Management
  • Iran
  • Nursing Policy
  • Policy Implementation
  • Qualitative Methods


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