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AENOR to certify the best practices of Project HU-CI - humanising healthcare in Intensive Care Units


  • Among others requirements, ICUs should have open-door policies, favouring contact and participation of family members; foster the patient's overall well-being, and promote staff care.

28 March 2019. AENOR and Project HU-CI have signed an agreement whereby Spain's benchmark certification entity will verify the best practices in terms of humanising Intensive Care Units (ICUs). The aim of Project HU-CI is to change the management model in healthcare and humanise intensive care for patients, relatives and staff.

To obtain this certification, ICUs must successfully pass the external audits carried out by AENOR in accordance with the Project HU-CI best practices handbook, which entails 159 specific measures. Among others requirements, ICUs must: 

  • Establish and open-door ICU policy: encouraging family members to be present and participate in care-giving, allowing contact with patients and giving support for the possible emotional and psychological needs of all parties.
  • Improve communication with the patient, relatives and among healthcare workers.
  • Protect the patient's well-being, both physical and psychological, encouraging their autonomy and night-time rest.
  • Look after staff, creating awareness about professional burnout and other associated factors, and fostering their well-being.
  • Detect, prevent and draw up comprehensive plans for post-intensive care syndrome.
  • Improve end-of-life care by fulfilling the protocols established for this stage. Monitoring physical symptoms; providing company; catering for emotional and spiritual needs and preferences; integrating palliative care, planning and consulting advance directives or multi-disciplinary and shared involvement in deciding on and undertaking measures to limit life-sustaining treatments (LLST).
  • Have a humanised infrastructure, guaranteeing aspects such as privacy, orientation or comfort of patients, relatives and staff. In addition, ICUs will also promote the entertainment and distraction of the patient, allowing the use of new technologies and facilitating spaces in gardens and patios, guaranteeing appropriate signage and accessibility. 

ICUs complying with these best practices and passing the AENOR external verification, will receive the corresponding acknowledgement. Over 200 hospital ICUs, both in Spain and in other countries around the world, have undertaken the self-assessment to comply with best practices as an initial step in the certification process.