Guidelines for the inter- and intrahospital transport of critically ill patients.
OBJECTIVE: The development of practice guidelines for the conduct of intra- and interhospital transport of the critically ill patient. DATA SOURCE: Expert opinion and a search of Index Medicus from January 1986 through October 2001 provided the basis for these guidelines. A task force of experts in the field of patient transport provided personal experience and expert opinion. STUDY SELECTION AND DATA EXTRACTION: Several prospective and clinical outcome studies were found. However, much of the published data comes from retrospective reviews and anecdotal reports. Experience and consensus opinion form the basis of much of these guidelines. RESULTS OF DATA SYNTHESIS: Each hospital should have a formalized plan for intra- and interhospital transport that addresses a) pretransport coordination and communication; b) transport personnel; c) transport equipment; d) monitoring during transport; and e) documentation. The transport plan should be developed by a multidisciplinary team and should be evaluated and refined regularly using a standard quality improvement process. CONCLUSION: The transport of critically ill patients carries inherent risks. These guidelines promote measures to ensure safe patient transport. Although both intra- and interhospital transport must comply with regulations, we believe that patient safety is enhanced during transport by establishing an organized, efficient process supported by appropriate equipment and personnel.