An ICU liaison nurse support service is valuable and important for critically ill patients, their family members and ward nurses

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Johansson, Lotta
Sjoholm, Linda
Sjostedt, Viktoria
Branden, Ann-Sofie
Boerenbeker, Pernilla
Engberg, Anna Bladh
Rylander, Christian
Chaboyer, Wendy
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Melbourne, Australia


Introduction: Critically ill patients are particularly vulnerable to adverse events due to their condition and the complex care they require, both within the intensive care unit (ICU) and after discharge to the general ward. A weak point seems to be the combination of a change in nursing skill mix and nurse to patient ratio from the ICU to the general ward coupled with patients’ complex care requirements. Objectives/Aims: To describe the experience of patients, families and ward nurses about an ICU Liaison Nurse (ICU LN) service. Methods: After ethics approval, the support service was introduced and tested in a 4-month trial in a Swedish University hospital. It consisted of a new service offered 8 h per day and 5 days per week. Experienced ICU Registered Nurses (RNs), who were trained in the new role visited patients on the general wards twice daily for 3 days after discharge. They provided a support service, identifying patients’ needs, contributing to care planning and delivery, and supporting the patient and family. After consenting, 14 patients, 15 family members and 18 ward-based RNs were interviewed about their experiences of the ICU LN support service. Data were analysed using inductive content analysis. Results: Three categories emerged from the data: the ICU LN support service provides necessary and invaluable specialist knowledge needed for the continued care on the general ward; the ICU LN support service secures information transfer and thereby improves continuity of care after ICU discharge; and the ICU LN support service offers emotional support and stability in an uncertain situation. Conclusion: The ICU LN support service was perceived as valuable and important by former critically ill patients, their family members and ward RNs.

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Australian Critical Care

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Clinical sciences


Science & Technology

Life Sciences & Biomedicine

Critical Care Medicine

General & Internal Medicine

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Johansson, L; Sjoholm, L; Sjostedt, V; Branden, A-S; Boerenbeker, P; Engberg, AB; Rylander, C; Chaboyer, W, An ICU liaison nurse support service is valuable and important for critically ill patients, their family members and ward nurses, Australian Critical Care, 2020, 33, pp. S5-S6