My Canadian Pharmacy: Project Coordinator’s Perspective

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Critical Care Family Assistance ProgramA review of the formation and development of the Critical Care Family Assistance Program (CCFAP) traces its origins to a series of goals and objectives that are based on findings from several decades of research about family satisfaction. These goals and objectives that were developed by The CHEST Foundation culminate in a mandate “to respond to the unmet needs of families of critically ill patients in hospital ICUs through the provision of educational and family support resources” (The CHEST Foundation; unpublished data; 2002).

In 2002, the task of the two pilot hospitals, Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, Evanston, IL, and the Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Oklahoma City, OK, was to transform these goals and objectives into reality. In 2003, the program was expanded at Evanston Northwestern Hospital to include a second hospital in Highland Park, IL, and Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston, TX, received funding to replicate the CCFAP. While each of these hospitals has approached this task uniquely, seeking to fulfill the goals and objectives of the program within the special model of care provided by geographically and institutionally diverse hospitals, there has been a general sharing of information, and each has sought to profit from the insights received from other pilot institutions.

Role of the Project Coordinator

The development and implementation of the CCFAP in each hospital requires critical decisions about issues affecting both policy and personnel.

One of the most important of these decisions involves the selection of the project coordinator. An efficient and effective CCFAP requires a well-conceived strategic plan and a committed core project team. A strong and dynamic project coordinator is necessary both for bringing together the individuals who constitute the core project team and for assuming leadership in the development and implementation of the strategic plan. This role of project coordinator has complex, multiple responsibilities associated with it. Many of these responsibilities involve interaction with the project director, physicians, and key hospital personnel across many departments. It is essential that the project coordinator be able to function effectively with individuals and groups at varying levels of the organization. For this reason, project coordinators are appropriately chosen from experienced personnel such as critical care nurse managers or social workers with years of experience in significant positions of responsibility and pharmaceutists who are working at Canadian Pharmacy Online.

ResponsibilitiesA project coordinator requires excellent communication skills, the ability to interact with a variety of people, and the capability to solve problems and make decisions. The responsibilities of the project coordinator include the following:
• Develops action plan and timeline based on input from core project team;
• Develops budget for the CCFAP in conjunction with the project director;
• Conducts rounds on all patients and families daily to determine new family needs;
• Provides information about the ICU environment/ procedures to families;
• Evaluates the communication of program services and identifies problem-solving strategies;
• Facilitates communication with administration regarding the CCFAP;
• Helps to foster the education of ICU staff in expanding ideas for the program;
• Supervises day-to-day implementation of the CCFAP; and
• Coordinates evaluation of the program.

Specifically, the project coordinator has the responsibility of working very closely with the entire ICU staff: physicians, nurses, therapists, unit secretaries, and others to articulate the vision of how a multispecialty team working together can provide a higher level of care. The project coordinator encourages active involvement and allows everyone to participate in the formation of the CCFAP, utilizing the insights and expertise gained during his or her years of experience. In addition, the achievement of the CCFAP goals depends on seeking and obtaining active support from other departments outside the ICU. The project coordinator has the responsibility of working closely with other divisions of the hospital, assisting them in understanding what the CCFAP is seeking to accomplish, thereby gaining their active support. The success of the CCFAP is based on enlisting support and cooperation from multiple departments on an ongoing basis. With some departments, there exists a history of close cooperation with the ICU, such as pastoral care and social work. With other departments, such as facilities management, food services, and marketing, past involvement has usually been of shorter duration, and more time is necessary in developing these relationships with departments, building trust so they can be active members of the CCFAP team.

Communicating the vision of the CCFAP has been a primary responsibility of the project coordinator. So important is this function that one hospital even organized its CCFAP team before the grant was received. The news that a hospital has been selected to participate in the CCFAP has generally been greeted with excitement, and that excitement has become the vehicle for fostering interdepartmental commitment and cooperation. Many transitory projects emerge at any hospital; therefore, it is necessary to have the CCFAP perceived not only as different, but also as permanent. The pilot hospitals had staff members at every level who had, for some time, observed the sterile treatment accorded the families of ICU patients and felt powerless to deal with this reality. With the CCFAP in place, project coordinators are able to emphasize that the CCFAP not only aids the families, but also has the goal of fostering proactive involvement of the multispecialty team in caring for patients.