Race and Ethnicity and Satisfaction With Communication in the Intensive Care Unit

Elizabeth Chuang, Ryan J. Fiter, Omar C. Sanon, Ann Wang, Aluko A. Hope, Clyde B. Schechter, Michelle N. Gong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Racial and ethnic minority patients receive poorer quality end-of-life (EoL) care compared with white patients. Differences in quality of communication (QOC) with clinicians may contribute to these disparities. We measured differences in satisfaction with communication in the intensive care unit (ICU) by race and ethnicity. Materials and Methods: This is a cross-sectional survey of family members of patients in ICUs of an academic medical center serving a diverse urban population using The Family Satisfaction with the ICU (FS-ICU) and QOC scales. Results: One hundred surveys were completed (18.8% white, non-Hispanic; 34.4% black, non-Hispanic; 31.3% Hispanic; 15.6% other race/ethnicity). Mean FS-ICU score was 84.2 (standard deviation [SD] 20.5) for white patients, 83.3 (SD 16.2) for black patients, 82.7 (SD 17.8) for Hispanic or Latino patients, and 80.9 (SD 18.8) for patients with other race/ethnicity (Kruskal-Wallis, P =.92). Differences remained insignificant when controlling for patient and respondent characteristics. The QOC scale was not scored due to nonresponse levels on questions about EoL communication. Conclusions: Uniformly high ratings may have been influenced by avoidance of EoL discussion. This study is inconclusive regarding whether QOC influences disparities in EoL care since quality of EoL communication was not captured.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)823-829
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • caregivers
  • critical illness
  • end-of-life care
  • health communication
  • health disparities
  • intensive care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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