In the new era of decreasing hospital bed availability, there is an increasing rate of direct discharge to home (DDH) from intensive care units (ICUs), despite sparse literature informing this practice.
To evaluate patient, family, and ICU attending physician satisfaction with planning for DDH from the ICU and intensivists’ current DDH practices and perceptions.
Prospective cohort study, using convenience sampling, of adult patients undergoing DDH from an ICU between February 2016 and February 2017 using a modified FS-ICU 24 satisfaction survey completed by patients, family members, and attending physicians at the time of patient discharge to home from the ICU.
Seventy-two percent of patients, 37% of family members, and 100% of ICU physicians recruited completed the survey. A majority of patients (89%) and families (78%) were satisfied or very satisfied with DDH. Only 6% of patients and 8% of families were dissatisfied to very dissatisfied with DDH. Conversely, ICU physician satisfaction varied, with only 5% being very comfortable with DDH and the majority (50%) only somewhat comfortable. Twenty percent of staff consultants were uncomfortable to very uncomfortable with the practice of DDH. Thirty-one percent of staff physician respondents felt that patient and family discomfort would be barriers to DDH. Compared to physicians and other allied health professionals, nurses were identified as the most helpful members of the health-care team in preparation for DDH by 98% of patients and 92% of family members. The DDH rates have increased for the past 12 years in our ICUs but declined during the study period (February 2016 to February 2017).
Patients and family members are satisfied with the practice of DDH from ICU, although ICU physician satisfaction is more variable. Physician comfort may be improved by data informing which patients may be safely DDH from the ICU.