Research Article

A functional perspective for Intensive Care Unit modelling

Natália Ransolin; Priscila Wachs; Wagner Pietrobelli Bueno

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Paper aims: This study demonstrates the complexity of the patient flow from admission to discharge of an adult Intensive Care Unit (ICU) through the application of the Functional Resonance Analysis Method (FRAM).

Originality: This paper shows the daily functioning of the patient flow, shedding light on the high levels of interdependence and variabilities in Complex Sociotechnical Systems.

Research method: The research was developed according to the four steps for FRAM analysis. Sources of evidence involved empirical data collection in a leading teaching public hospital in Brazil.

Main findings: There were identified 34 functions performed mainly by caregivers and support staff. Five instantiations were described to illustrate the functional resonance scenarios caused by the variability propagation across the functions.

Implications for theory and practice: Limitations of this study and suggestions for future research are pointed out. The resulting model is a basis for context understanding for ongoing and following studies.


Complexity, Healthcare, Services, Resilience, FRAM


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