The experiences and needs of relatives of intensive care unit patients during the transition from the intensive care unit to a general ward: A qualitative study

Sabine Adriana Johanna Josepha op ‘t Hoog, Maaike Dautzenberg, Anne Maria Eskes, Hester Vermeulen, Lilian Christina Maria Vloet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Background: Relatives of intensive care unit (ICU) patients play an important role as caregivers and can experience emotional distress, also referred to as post-intensive care syndrome-family. A deeper understanding of what relatives go through and what they need may provide input on how to strengthen family-centred care and, in the end, contribute to the reduction of symptoms of post-intensive care syndrome-family. Method: This is a qualitative descriptive study with semistructured face-to-face interviews after ICU transfers. Findings: A total of 13 relatives of ICU patients participated. Relatives of ICU patients expressed five types of experiences after transfer from the ICU to the general ward: (1) relief, (2) uncertainty, (3) need to be acknowledged in becoming a caregiver, (4) sharing expectations, and (5) need for continuity in care. Relatives experience major uncertainties and prefer to be more actively involved in care and care decisions. Conclusion: Relatives of ICU patients experience gaps in care during the transition from the ICU to a general ward. Nurses can play a crucial role in the need for continuity of care by proactively involving relatives during the care pathway of ICU patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-532
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Critical Care
Volume33
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

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