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Patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) are often too sick to be able to tell their health care team what their wishes are for medical treatment. Family members acting on behalf of critically ill patients often struggle with difficult end-of-life decisions. 

The PARTNER Program is a quality improvement/research program that provides support for these family members and improves communication between them and the medical team.  When critically ill patients meet certain criteria, meetings with family members are held within 48 hours and continue on a regular basis as long as the patient remains in the ICU.

The PARTNER Program offers families clear and consistent medical information, support while their loved one is in the ICU, and help in making medical decisions consistent with their loved one’s wishes. 

Currently, researchers at UPMC are examining whether improved communication and emotional support provided to family members helps them to make medical decisions consistent with their loved one’s wishes.

Our overall goal is to provide the best patient-centered care for critically ill ICU patients and a program that ensures their wishes are followed when they can no longer speak for themselves.​