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Mastering Intensive Care

Feb 24, 2020

In this episode I talk about what’s been recently published in the medical literature to help you master intensive care from a humanity point of view.

In a departure from the usual interview episode, and as a trial, I searched the December 2019 issues of 8 well-respected journals and found a large number of articles focused on non-technical aspects of intensive care. Not the drugs, devices, procedures or interventions, but the person-based and human-focused topics I like to concentrate this podcast on.

As I’ve transitioned in my own career from being a researcher of interventions to a producer of a podcast focused on being the best all-round intensive care-givers we can be, I’ve realised there is a growing literature on non-technical topics, some of which I’m not well enough aware of on a day to day basis.

So in this episode I found numerous articles from December 2019 which I believe can help you and your colleagues humanise the intensive care you give at the bedside. Some are research studies, some are reviews, and others are stories, essays, poems, or simply writings.

I focus in some detail on 3 specific journal articles on the topics of (1) family engagement, (2) family support and (3) early palliative care consultation. I then refer you briefly to 10 other articles so you can read these in full if you are interested. There are links to all of these articles below.

I really hope you enjoy and value this episode. I learnt a lot from reading these articles myself. Please send any feedback, questions or comments to


Andrew Davies




About the Mastering Intensive Care podcast: The podcast is aimed to inspire and empower you to bring your best self to the intensive care unit, through conversations with thought-provoking guests. The hope is you’ll glean insights to move you closer towards being the best and most human healthcare professionals you can be, so you can make the most valuable contribution to your patient’s lives.




Links to 3 Journal articles reviewed in detail

Kleinpell R, Zimmerman J, Vermoch KL, et al. Promoting Family Engagement in the ICU: Experience From a National Collaborative of 63 ICUs. Crit Care Med. 2019;47(12):1692–1698. doi:10.1097/CCM.0000000000004009   PubMed link   Associated editorial

Lee HW, Park Y, Jang EJ, Lee YJ. Intensive care unit length of stay is reduced by protocolized family support intervention: a systematic review and meta-analysis [published correction appears in Intensive Care Med. 2019 Oct 8;:]. Intensive Care Med. 2019;45(8):1072–1081. doi:10.1007/s00134-019-05681-3   PubMed link

Ma J, Chi S, Buettner B, et al. Early Palliative Care Consultation in the Medical ICU: A Cluster Randomized Crossover Trial. Crit Care Med. 2019;47(12):1707–1715. doi:10.1097/CCM.0000000000004016   PubMed link


Links to 10 Journal articles mentioned briefly

Barreto BB, Luz M, Rios MNO, Lopes AA, Gusmao-Flores D. The impact of intensive care unit diaries on patients' and relatives' outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Crit Care. 2019; 23(1):411. Published 2019 Dec 16. doi:10.1186/s13054-019-2678-0   PubMed link

Ramchand P. The gift. Lancet. 2020; 394(10216):2283–2284. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(19)32961-7   PubMed link

Harrington JL. The Case for Waking. JAMA. 2019; 322(22):2251. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.17962   PubMed link

Maskell G. True candour. BMJ. 2019; 367:l6754. Published 2019 Dec 3. doi:10.1136/bmj.l6754   PubMed link

Rimmer A. Bring me joy. BMJ. 2019; 367:l6745. Published 2019 Dec 16. doi:10.1136/bmj.l6745   PubMed link

Klaber RE, Bailey S. Kindness: an underrated currency. BMJ. 2019; 367:l6099. Published 2019 Dec 16. doi:10.1136/bmj.l6099   PubMed link

Morgan M. Matt Morgan: Cold food on hot desks. BMJ. 2019; 367:l6829. Published 2019 Dec 10. doi:10.1136/bmj.l6829   PubMed link

Rimmer A. Suicide in anaesthetists: five minutes with . . . Samantha Shinde. BMJ. 2019;367:l6781. Published 2019 Dec 2. doi:10.1136/bmj.l6781   PubMed link

Auriemma CL, Van den Berghe G, Halpern SD. Less is more in critical care is supported by evidence-based medicine. Intensive Care Med. 2019;45(12):1806–1809. doi:10.1007/s00134-019-05771-2   PubMed link

Auñón-Chancellor S. Earthling. Ann Intern Med. 2019; 171(12):937–938. doi:10.7326/M19-2759   PubMed link


Links to 8 Journals searched

New England Journal of Medicine

JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association

BMJ: British Medical Journal

The Lancet

Annals of Internal Medicine

Critical Care Medicine

ICM Journal: Intensive Care Medicine

American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine

Critical Care


Links to other resources mentioned

Mastering Intensive Care podcast - Episode 3 with Rinaldo Bellomo

Critical Care Reviews

Link to sign up to Critical Care Reviews newsletter

PRISMA statement

Mastering Intensive Care podcast - Episode 32 with Kate Harding


Links related to Mastering Intensive Care podcast

Mastering Intensive Care podcast - Episode 50 with Andrew Davies

Mastering Intensive Care podcast - Episode 51 - A Recap of 2019

Mastering Intensive Care podcast

Mastering Intensive Care page on Facebook

Mastering Intensive Care at Life In The Fast Lane

Andrew Davies on Twitter: @andrewdavies66

Andrew Davies on Instagram: @andrewdavies66

Andrew Davies on LinkedIn

Email Andrew Davies

Audio Producer Chris Burke

Burke Sound & Media