Successful implementation of a short message service (SMS) as intensive care to family communication tool

Kieron Gorman, Christopher MacIsaac, Jeffrey Presneill, Daniel Hadley, Joanne Nolte, Rinaldo Bellomo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Regularly informing families of the condition of their relative can be difficult. Text messaging via mobile telephones may achieve such communication effectively. OBJECTIVE: To test the hypotheses that we could efficiently deliver real-time short message service (SMS) updates to families and that these SMS updates would be accepted and welcomed. DESIGN: Prospective observational study. PARTICIPANTS: Cohort of 91 cardiac surgery patients and 156 family participants. INTERVENTION: At five distinct landmark events, we sent pre-written SMS updates to designated mobile numbers. We used the sendQuick (TalariaX) mobile messaging platform via the internet in our hospital. To alleviate privacy concerns, all patients were referred to as "your loved one". The message confirmed the passing of each landmark and directed the families towards the next one. After the patient's discharge, families were followed up with a telephone call and a five-point Likert scale questionnaire. RESULTS: We successfully sent all five SMS messages for 72 patients to 114 participants (73%). Among 114 participants, all agreed the SMS service was reassuring and that the SMS messages were easy to follow and kept participants informed. Almost all felt the SMS service did not increase anxiety and all disagreed with the SMS service being intrusive. All surveyed participants stated that they would recommend the service to other families. CONCLUSION: We successfully instituted real-time SMS updates. All surveyed participants agreed that these messages were reassuring, informative and easy to follow and that they would recommend the SMS service to other families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-226
Number of pages6
JournalCritical care and resuscitation : journal of the Australasian Academy of Critical Care Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes

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