The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses has released practice guidelines for the emerging subspecialty of tele-ICU nursing.
AACN Tele-ICU Nursing Practice Guidelines was written to bring consistency across new and existing tele-ICUs, and serve as a benchmark for the growing number of RNs who practice within the tele-ICU model of care, also known as remote or virtual ICUs.
These nurses monitor acutely and critically ill patients from a remote location, using audiovisual technology and computer software to identify trends in patient data and instability, and communicate with patients and bedside nurses. Tele-ICU nurses monitor and interact with patients and families, consult with bedside clinicians and help implement evidence-based practices.
The care of patients who are acutely or critically ill has expanded beyond the traditional boundaries of the ICU, AACN past president Connie Barden, RN, MSN, CCRN-E, CCNS, director of telehealth initiatives at Miamis Baptist Health South Florida in Miami and co-chair of the AACNs Tele-ICU Task Force, said in a news release.
Having standardized definitions and practice guidelines benefits nurses and other clinicians who practice from a remote location, the patients they care for and the organizations they work for.
The document defines tele-ICU nursing and identifies the guidelines and the essential elements of those guidelines that will assist tele-ICU nurses, managers and program directors to evaluate their individual or unit practice.
Tele-ICUs have increased in number across the United States. More than 40 programs exist in the United States, reaching more than 250 hospitals and more than 10% of the ICU patients in the country, according to the news release.
Recognizing the impact of this subspecialty, the AACN convened a Tele-ICU Task Force in 2010, composed of nurses in tele-ICU leadership positions from diverse organizational settings who have experience using a variety of technology vendors with varying practice models.
A free PDF of the guidelines and a link to purchase a print version are available at www.aacn.org/wd/practice/content/tele-icu-guidelines.content.