The extent and application of patient diaries in Australian intensive care units: A national survey
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Background: Critical illness can be a psychological stressor for patients and family members. Scandinavian studies have portrayed patient diaries as a supporting catalyst for patients and their families through a process of reflection and fact presentation. However, the small number of randomisation trials exhibits theoretical and methodological limitations. Given the increased interest amongst Australian Critical Care Nurses, further understanding of nurses' perceptions and use of patient diaries was warranted. Objectives: To identify nurses' perceptions of patient diary use and to describe their application within Australian ICUs. Method: A descriptive, exploratory study design using an online survey of the Australian College of Critical Care Nurses was used. Descriptive statistics illustrated participant responses and textual data were subjected to content analysis for emergent themes. Results: Out of the 194 participants, 19% (n = 37) reported patient diary use in their unit, with nine indicating some form of evaluation. Fifty (70%) of the non-diary users, who responded, indicated hesitancy to introduce them. Respondents noted a lack of guiding policies and potential medico-legal ambiguity. Content analysis revealed three themes, considering diaries as: communication tool, patient recovery tool and a family centred care strategy. Conclusion: Patient diary use appears to be in its infancy inAustralia with a lack of guiding policy for format and processes including evaluation. Nurses using diaries were enthusiastic about the initiative, holding optimistic perceptions about the potential positive impact of diaries on patient and family outcomes. Further research on their efficacy is required.
Australian Critical Care
© 2014 ACCCN. Published by Elsevier. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal website for access to the definitive, published version.
Clinical Nursing: Secondary (Acute Care)