Background: Although use of sedation protocols and daily sedation interruption (DSI) improve outcome, their current use and barriers affecting their use are unclear.
Methods: We designed a multidisciplinary, Web-based survey to determine current use of sedation protocols and DSI and the perceived barriers to each, and administered it to members of the Society of Critical Care Medicine.
Results: The 904 responders were physicians (60%), nurses (14%), or pharmacists (12%); 45% worked in a university hospital. Of 64% having a sedation protocol, 78% used it for >or=50% of ventilated patients. Reasons for lack of protocol use included no physician order (35%), lack of nursing support (11%), and a fear of oversedation (7%). Daily sedation interruption was used by only 40%. Barriers to DSI included lack of nursing acceptance (22%), concern about risk of patient-initiated device removal (19%), and inducement of either respiratory compromise (26%) or patient discomfort (13%). Clinicians who prefer propofol were more likely to use DSI than those who prefer benzodiazepines (55% vs 40, P < .0001).
Conclusions: Current intensive care unit sedation practices are heterogeneous, and the barriers preventing the use of both sedation protocols and DSI are numerous. These barriers should be addressed on an institutional basis to boost the use of these evidence-based practices.