Alexia Torke, M.D., M.S., discusses the newly shortened Family Inpatient Communication Survey (FICS) and what she sees as ideal uses for the 10- and 5-question versions.
We hope that the 10-item survey will be used in broader studies of family experiences in the hospital, especially when a hospital or a researcher just wants to know how we did in terms of both emotional support and communication.
The five-item survey can be used in research as well, but we’re actually exploring some new ways to use it where we send out the individual items over a text, and that can be done on the fly. And that’s an area of research called Ecological Momentary Assessment.
Dr. Torke explains the national landscape of health surveys and the unique niche the FICS was designed to fill.
Our national systems don’t always assess the family members’ experience. So for example, there are some national surveys like the HCAHPS, but for adults they mostly focus on the adults’ own experience, and they don’t assess family experience. Another context where there aren’t good national surveys right now is the situation in which a family member dies in the hospital. And in that case the family would not receive one of those HCAHPS surveys, but it’s still really important, in fact maybe especially important, that we learn about what the family’s communication experience was.
Dr. Torke talks about next steps for the FICS and her team’s research on family surrogate experiences.
We want this to be used not only in a research environment, which is highly controlled and limited to a certain group of people, but we really hope that this survey and other surveys like it can be used in clinical care because we think the family experience is incredibly important, not only in the research context but in the everyday context across the country. So some of our next work will be what we call dissemination work to really get the word out there and try to spread the use of the survey to an expanded group of people.