Interprofessional Team Member Communication Patterns, Teamwork, and Collaboration in Pre-Family Meeting Huddles in a Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit


Context: Interprofessional teams often develop a care plan prior to engaging in a family meeting in the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit (CICU)—a process that can affect the course of the family meeting and alter team dynamics, but that has not been studied.

Objectives: To characterize the types of interactions that interprofessional team members have in pre-family meetings huddles in the pediatric CICU by 1) evaluating the amount of time each team member speaks; 2) assessing team communication and teamwork using standardized instruments; and 3) measuring team members’ perceptions of collaboration and satisfaction with decision-making.

Methods: We conducted a prospective observational study in a pediatric CICU. Subjects were members of the interprofessional team attending preparation meetings prior to care meetings with families of patients admitted to the CICU for longer than two weeks. We quantitatively coded the amount each team member spoke. We assessed team performance of communication and teamwork using the PACT-Novice tool, and we measured perception of collaboration and satisfaction with decision-making using the CSACD questionnaire.

Results: Physicians spoke for an average of 83.9% of each meeting’s duration (SD 7.5%); non-physicians averaged 9.9% (SD 5.2%). Teamwork behaviors were present and adequately performed as judged by trained observers. Significant differences in physician and non-physician perceptions of collaboration were found in 3 out of 10 observed meetings.

Conclusions: Interprofessional team members’ interactions in team meetings provide important information about team dynamics, revealing potential opportunities for improved collaboration and communication in team meetings and subsequent family meetings.