Decisional responsibility for mechanical ventilation and weaning: an international survey

Louise Rose, Bronagh Blackwood, Ingrid Egerod, Hege Selnes Haugdahl, Jose Hofhuis, Michael Isfort, Kalliopi Kydonaki, Maria Schubert, Riccardo Sperlinga, Peter Spronk, Sissel Storli, Daniel F. McAuley, Marcus J. Schultz

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Introduction: Optimal management of mechanical ventilation and weaning requires dynamic and collaborative decision making to minimize complications and avoid delays in the transition to extubation. In the absence of collaboration, ventilation decision making may be fragmented, inconsistent, and delayed. Our objective was to describe the professional group with responsibility for key ventilation and weaning decisions and to examine organizational characteristics associated with nurse involvement.

Methods: A multi-center, cross-sectional, self-administered survey was sent to nurse managers of adult intensive care units (ICUs) in Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, Netherlands and United Kingdom (UK). We summarized data as proportions (95% confidence intervals (CIs)) and calculated odds ratios (OR) to examine ICU organizational variables associated with collaborative decision making.

Results: Response rates ranged from 39% (UK) to 92% (Switzerland), providing surveys from 586 ICUs. Interprofessional collaboration (nurses and physicians) was the most common approach to initial selection of ventilator settings (63% (95% CI 59 to 66)), determination of extubation readiness (71% (67 to 75)), weaning method (73% (69 to 76)), recognition of weaning failure (84% (81 to 87)) and weaning readiness (85% (82 to 87)), and titration of ventilator settings (88% (86 to 91)). A nurse-to-patient ratio other than 1:1 was associated with decreased interprofessional collaboration during titration of ventilator settings (OR 0.2, 95% CI 0.1 to 0.6), weaning method (0.4 (0.2 to 0.9)), determination of extubation readiness (0.5 (0.2 to 0.9)) and weaning failure (0.4 (0.1 to 1.0)). Use of a weaning protocol was associated with increased collaborative decision making for determining weaning (1.8 (1.0 to 3.3)) and extubation readiness (1.9 (1.2 to 3.0)), and weaning method (1.8 (1.1 to 3.0)). Country of ICU location influenced the profile of responsibility for all decisions. Automated weaning modes were used in 55% of ICUs.

Conclusions: Collaborative decision making for ventilation and weaning was employed in most ICUs in all countries although this was influenced by nurse-to-patient ratio, presence of a protocol, and varied across countries. Potential clinical implications of a lack of collaboration include delayed adaptation of ventilation to changing physiological parameters, and delayed recognition of weaning and extubation readiness resulting in unnecessary prolongation of ventilation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberR295
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages8
JournalCritical Care
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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