Team communication patterns in emergency resuscitation: a mixed methods qualitative analysis

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Background: In order to enhance patient safety during resuscitation of critically ill patients, we need to optimize team communication and enhance team situational awareness but little is known about resuscitation team communication patterns. The objective of this study is to understand how teams communicate during resuscitation; specifically to assess for a shared mental model (organized understanding of a team’s relationships) and information needs. Methods: We triangulated 3 methods to evaluate resuscitation team communication at a tertiary care academic trauma center: (1) interviews; (2) simulated resuscitation observations; (3) live resuscitation observations. We interviewed 18 resuscitation team members about shared mental models, roles and goals of team members and procedural expectations. We observed 30 simulated resuscitation video recordings and documented the timing, source and destination of communication and the information category. We observed 12 live resuscitations in the emergency department and recorded baseline characteristics of the type of resuscitations, nature of teams present and type and content of information exchanges. The data were analyzed using a qualitative communication analysis method. Results: We found that resuscitation team members described a shared mental model. Respondents understood the roles and goals of each team member in order to provide rapid, efficient and life-saving care with an overall need for situational awareness. The information flow described in the interviews was reflected during the simulated and live resuscitations with the most responsible physician and charting nurse being central to team communication. We consolidated communicated information into six categories: (1) time; (2) patient status; (3) patient history; (4) interventions; (5) assistance and consultations; 6) team members present. Conclusions: Resuscitation team members expressed a shared mental model and prioritized situational awareness. Our findings support a need for cognitive aids to enhance team communication during resuscitations.




Calder, L. A., Mastoras, G., Rahimpour, M., Sohmer, B., Weitzman, B., Cwinn, A. A., … Parush, A. (2017). Team communication patterns in emergency resuscitation: a mixed methods qualitative analysis. International Journal of Emergency Medicine, 10(1).

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