Healthcare, ICU

Moral Distress in the ICU Team

Hola a tod@s, my dear friends.

A few days ago Dr. Vicente Gómez-Tello sent me this article published in Critical Care Medicine in December 2014, because he knew that it could interest us: A Qualitative Study Exploring Moral Distress in the ICU Team: The Importance of Unit Functionality and Intrateam Dynamics. Again the qualitative research provides us with data from Houston.

The objective of the study was to determine the main sources of moral distress and how we could overcome as a team. To do this, they interviewed 29 members of the ICU Team, of all the professional classes.


All team members experienced moral distress and the discrepancies within the team are of these two situations:

– Start or maintenance of life support treatments considered futile.

– The lack of information on interventions that are conducted.

Then appear maladaptive behavior as the pas-de-deux, fight and withdrawal (they point to be most common in surgical ICUs) and constructive (“ventilation of problems,” networks of mentors and team cohesion work). Those constructive behaviors were typically carried out by nursing and ancillary staff. They point to the fact of medical information isolated as a factor of anxiety for doctors while nursing shown much more emotional.

Logically, these results have potential implications for the care of patients. Physicians and any surgical units health professionals may be susceptible to more anguish because they are less involved in constructive behaviors.

What do you think? Why not start talking about it?

By Dr. Gabi Heras
*Re-posted with permission; original can be found at: http://www.humanizingintensivecare.com/2015/01/moral-distress-in-icu-team.html