Journal Article


Thomas Walsh


Medicine & Nursing

clinical communication prospective studies cohort studies communication in medicine clinical medicine health care intensive care units cancer

Communication in Palliative Medicine: A Clinical Review of Family Conferences (2014)

Abstract AIM: Family conferences are an important forum for communication, particularly for those with serious illnesses. DESIGN: The strength of evidence was assessed by patient, intervention, comparator, and outcome (PICO). DATA SOURCE: We searched electronic databases (MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Embase, PubMed), published articles, and multidisciplinary resource textbooks. RESULTS: Four areas investigated family conferences: acute care, family medicine/geriatrics, intensive care units (ICU), and oncology/palliative medicine. A unifying theme was the importance of improved communication. A single randomized controlled ICU study demonstrated that family conferences positively influenced bereavement outcomes. A prospective (but single-arm) ICU study and several family medicine/geriatrics cohort studies, found that family conferences reduced hospital length of stay and/or decreased resource utilization. Other articles proposed guidelines or methods for the practical conduct of family conferences. CONCLUSIONS: ICU studies supported the benefit of a family conference to the family, health care team, and hospital administration. The family conference in other clinical areas was not supported by a strong evidence base. Well-designed prospective studies are needed in multiple medical settings to assess the proposed and observed patient and financial benefits of the family conference, and determine their generalizability.
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Full list of authors on original publication

Thomas Walsh

Experts in our system

T N Walsh
IT Blanchardstown
Total Publications: 53