Improving ICU-to-Ward Transfers of Care: Evaluation of a KT Tool Kit and ICU Transfer Tool

About the Project

Transitions of patient care between providers are vulnerable periods in healthcare delivery that expose patients to preventable errors and adverse events. The transfer of patients from the intensive care unit (ICU) to a medical or surgical hospital ward is one of the most challenging and high-risk transitions. Seriously ill frail older patients are especially vulnerable during these transitions.

In direct response to this challenge, we have assembled an interprofessional collaborative of provincial and national stakeholders to reengineer the transfer of frail older patients from ICU by implementing an evidence-informed Knowledge Translation (KT) Tool Kit and ICU Transfer Tool.

The complexity of both ICU transfers and effective KT requires a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, partnership-based approach that integrates scientific excellence with a community of stakeholders (patients, families, providers, decision-makers) in a healthcare sustainability model. The innovation proposed in this application builds upon KT activities from our CFN Core and Catalyst funded research program and may serve as a model for improving transitions of care for other patient populations or care settings. 

The goal is to reengineer the transfer of frail older patients from ICU through the timely adoption of sustainable best-practice change using a process to optimize patient-oriented outcomes, patient and family experiences with care and facilitate seamless care across the healthcare continuum. The time is right to invest in creating evidence-informed solutions that provide frail older patients with better care and better health while optimizing the value for money.

This project builds on previously funded CFN grant – CAT2015-06

Project Team

Principal Investigators:

Henry Stelfox, MD, PhD — University of Calgary

Sean BagshawMD, MSc, FRCPC — University of Alberta


Fiona Clement — University of Calgary

Sharon Straus — University of Toronto

Alan Forster — University of Ottawa

Peter Dodek — University of British Columbia

Christopher Doig — University of Calgary

Peter Oxland — Alberta Health Services

Elisabeth Papathanassoglou — University of Alberta

Dan Zuege — Alberta Health Services

Jeanna Parsons Leigh — University of Calgary

Michael Detsky — University of Toronto

Jayna Holroyd-Leduc — University of Calgary

Dan Niven — University of Calgary

Virginia Vandal-Walker — Athabasca University

Karolina Zjadewicz — Alberta Health Services

Christopher Grant — Alberta Health Services

Doreen Rockliff —  Alberta Health Services