Background: There is a lack of knowledge about tasks intensive care unit liaison nurses (ICU LNs) perform during patient review, despite this role operating in at least 31 acute care hospitals in Australia. Objectives: To evaluate the tasks that ICU LNs perform during patient review in the following referral subcategories: review after ICU discharge, rapid response team (RRT) review, and ward referral. Methods: A 2-month prospective observational study using standardised case report forms to collect data on patients reviewed by ICU LNs in 20 Australian hospitals was conducted. Results: From 3799 patients screened, 3542 were included, among whom 1933 (54.6%) were men, and the mean (standard deviation) age was 63 (19.4) years. The admitting units were surgical 1765 (49.8%) and medical 1696 (47.9%), and the breakdown of referral types were routine review after ICU discharge (1732; 47.9%), RRT review (1208; 34.1%), and ward referral (602; 17.0%). Patients subject to ward and RRT reviews were older, more likely to be medical admissions with less favourable vital signs on the initial review, and less likely to have repeat reviews. Of note, ward reviews were more likely to receive palliative care. Intensive care liaison nurse–initiated medication prescription and investigation ordering was uncommon. The most common interventions included consultation with medical staff, bedside education, adjusting oxygen flow and patient position, and directing the change in frequency of vital sign measurement. In-hospital mortality was lower in patients reviewed after ICU discharge (2.3%), compared with those after RRT review (2.8%) and ward referral (4.4%). Conclusions: Most patients were reviewed after ICU discharge or in the context of the RRT. RRT and ward patients were less physiologically stable and more likely to die in hospital. The most common interventions performed by the ICU LN were nontechnical skills including clinical education, consultation with medical staff, and changes to vital sign frequency. Finally, the most common medication therapies administered related to intravenous therapy and electrolyte administration.
- Intensive care liaison nurse