Aging/Gerontology, End-of-Life, Grief/Grieving/Bereavement, Health Conditions/Diseases, Healthcare, Humanity, ICU, News, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

‘Journey’s End’ is Available!

Julie and I are very excited to announce that our book is available on the Xlibris website at:

Journey’s End: Death, Dying, and the End of Life; 2.5 years in the making is finally available. Thank you to all who contributed to our book. We never could have done it without you…

The book is also on,, Barnes & Noble.


Accompanying the Family

Hola a tod@s, my dear friends.

From Asociación Humanizar of Hospital San Juan de Alicante, we have been informed about the following workshop on 25 March:

One of the projects of this volunteer is the accompaniment and listening to/with the relatives of the patients admitted to the ICU: welcome them and accompanied by giving them some instructions and helping them to wear coveralls when a patient requires contact or respiratory isolation.

They wait with the families during the visit and are responsible for give comfort and even embrace people who need it.

For more information about this workshop, click here (only available in Spanish).

Excellent initiative that goes in harmony with the concept redesign your waiting room pointed by Isidro Manrique (@uciero) which is already been presented in our talks

What about you? How would you improve this space and handling it in a more useful area?

Share it with us, we want to hear you!

By Dr. Gabi Heras, ICU Physician
*Re-posted with permission
Original can be found at:
Healthcare, ICU

Decalogue of the Ministry of Health for children admitted to the Hospital  

Hola a tod@s, my dear Friends.

On June of 2013 the next document was published by Spanish Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality:

It is the agreement of the Interterritorial Council to establish quality criteria applicable to Paediatric and Newborn Intensive Care Units (PICU and NICU) and of the National Health System, enabling to homogenize the attention, schedules visits, and protocols.

It is a very short document, which ends with a list of measures to improve the quality and warmth of the attention of children under 18 years hospitalized in Spain, and I wanted you to have the document available. 

1. Establish an institutional policy that ensures that children admitted in newborn and paediatric ICUs will be accompanied by their mother, father or family, recognizing the essential role for the income of the minor.

2. Promote the mother/father who wish can stay with the child 24 hours a day, and accompanying during painful and stressful medical tests in order to reduce their level of anxiety, without interfering in professional work.

3. In the newborn, encourage contact skin to skin and interaction with their mothers and fathers the maximum time possible, since benefits are shown for both.

4. Promote the creation of banks of breast milk in major hospitals newborn services.

5. Help the training and participation of the family in care and decision-making and inform them of their rights and of their children.

6. Promote awareness-raising, training and updating knowledge on breastfeeding and the importance of the role of the parent in the health care professional team.

7. Ensure the continuity of care during pregnancy, childbirth, and puerperium.

8. Provide information and support to mothers and fathers who have their children admitted in the Hospital.

9. Develop policies and hospital practices that favour the initiative of hospitals and Newborn friends units of mother and child in accordance with UNICEF and WHO, as the Initiative for the humanization of assistance at birth and breastfeeding.

10. Include these measures in the protocols of the cited PICU and NICU of the whole of the Spanish Health System hospitals, ensuring its compliance.

I am sorry because the full document it´s only available in Spanish. As you can see, there is a long way to go.

What about adults? From The IC-HU Project, we are creating the International Initiative for the Humanization of Assistance in Intensive Care. All together, listening to all voices.

By Dr. Gabi Heras, ICU Physician
*Re-posted with permission.
Original can be found at:
Healthcare, ICU

The Iatroref Study: Caring, the Healthcare providers to care patients

Research studies focusing on the critical patient safety are increasing. The flaws in the system and human factors are the main cause of adverse events. The complexity of the factors that contribute to health care risk required to deep through its analysis, in order to establish strategies for improvement in one of the key of quality dimensions .

The Iatroref study has been published online first this month in Intensive Care Medicine, the Journal of ESICM. In 31 French ICUs, the authors show that depression of professionals in intensive care units impacts negatively on the safety of the patient, increasing the risk of medical errors and adverse events.

The main objective of this study was to evaluate the potential association between factors such as depression, burnout, the culture of security and organizational characteristics of these units, and the occurrence of certain adverse events.

The authors show their results in how depression is a factor to take into account, not only because of its significant prevalence (18.8% of physicians and 15.6% in nurses), but by interacting significantly with a greater number of medical errors and adverse events (RR 2.07). Burnout is not related to increased medical risk and safety culture influenced limited in the occurrence of adverse events.

Other factors with a negative impact on patient safety were related to the Organization of the ICU, training professionals in patient safety, and workloads.
This interesting study explores factors which remain still unexplored and which require to be taken into account in the management of the health risk. New tools are required to detect early symptoms of dysfunction in the psychological well-being of the professionals and we need to support individual and organizational strategies.
The international project “Perceived Stressors in Intensive Care Units (PS-ICU)” led by Professor Gilles Capellier, from University Hospital of Besançon and Alexandra Laurant from University Franche-Comté is consistent with this research.
This International Network Team, in which members of the IC-HU Project participate, consists of researchers from France, Italy, Ireland, Australia, Canada, and Spain. Its main objective is to build and validate an internationally specific scale on stress perceived by ICU professionals and identify those factors with impact on mental health, job satisfaction and quality of care.
Dra. Mari Cruz Martín Delgado (@MCMartinDelgado )
* Re-posted with permission. Original can be found at:
Healthcare, ICU

Never Underestimate the Power of FORCE

Hola a tod@s, my dear friends.

Never underestimate the power of Force, because is very intense in the Hospital.

Hospital Universitario de Torrejón was “invaded” on December 30 by the soldiers of the Empire from Star Wars. A different way of living together Christmas with the “Kings of the Galaxy.’

The event was organized together with the associations AFADACS (Association of families affected by brain damage adquired), ASTOR (Association of parents of persons with Mental retardation) and the Association of Women Ada Byron, with the collaboration of the school of Football of Torrejón.

The event began in the Hall of the hospital with 40 children from ASTOR to that handed out toys and books to continue with a magic performance. Later, members of the associations and those of the Spanish Garrison 501st Legion visited hospitalized children upstairs and were that in emergencies to gave them toys and books.

There are more than a thousand ways to help, to smile and putting diseases aside, even for a while.
And certainly they works.

By Gabi Heras, ICU Physician
*Re-posted with permission; original can be found at:
Humanity, ICU

The IC-HU Project in Humanizar Journal

Hola a tod@s, mis queridos amig@s.

Today I want to share with you the interview that made us the Humanizar Journal from The Center of Humanization of Health, and which has just been published in its online version as on paper.

In the first issue of January/February 2015, the journal talks around development and health issues. 
I leave here the link that gives access to the interview (Sorry, it´s only available in Spanish).“Something is changing in medicine.”

We take this opportunity to recommend this journal, as well as give you the ability to submit the subscription for a bargain price (20 euros) to receive bi-monthly copies of which is the journal of reference in the world of the humanization of health. Or if you want to have some single number, it’s yours for 3 euros!

Thanks to the Center of Humanization on the interview! As you all know, next May we will organise together the  XX National Conference of Humanization.

As soon as possible we will make public the program and the ability to sign up, so stay tuned to the blog and social networks! New surprises lie ahead!

By Dr. Gabi Heras-ICU Physician
*re-posted with permission from:
Humanity, ICU

What do they want to tell?

Hola a tod@s, my dear friends.

Rather than anything, thanks everybody for the response given to “Human tools.” We knew that it is a great film, but with the fire in Networks and more than 2000 visits in the first 24 hours our expectations have been beyond!

Keep helping us do this trending Topic in your day to day: BE SWEET, BE HUMAN.

And following this way, today we want to share an article recently published in the advance online of the Revista de Calidad Asistencial (Quality of Care Journal) by one of the components of the IC-HU Research Project, Dra. Ángela Alonso, and her team from the ICU of the Hospital Universitario de Fuenlabrada.

The authors raised as target to know the expectations, needs and experiences of families in relation to the information that we give them and the degree of understanding, to find that magic receipt that will make us improve in this difficult task.

They carried out a qualitative research through ten semi-structured interviews to family members of critical patients, finding that there are differences between what they expect from the information and what we give them.

In the analysis, they highlight several points:

1. The subjective position of the family: waiting, anticipated grief and anguish.

2. What represents the ICU for family.

3. The perceived care.

4. The four phases of the information: first information and first visit; following information and following visits, information from the withdrawal of support measures and the discharge information.

The article includes a table with recommendations on aspects unwanted and undesirable to inform family members, which it is for us an indispensable guide.

We have to understand that families are also our patients; we need to move them from the passive state of “waiting” and paternalism; the information we give them is vital and fundamental how we inform; we have to be truthful, honest, sincere, compassionate, and caring; they require a custom time and information needs vary along the income.

ICUs of the 21st century want to put people at the centre. This is an excellent way.

Congratulations colleagues! And thank you so much.

By Dr. Gabi Heras-ICU Physician

*re-posted with permission from: