Perspectives of patients and family members regarding psychological support using intensive care diaries: An exploratory mixed methods study

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Abstract

Purpose:

Diaries summarizing intensive care are routine practice in some countries, although evidence to support diary use is limited. The purpose of this study was to identify whether distress post-intensive care influences patients' and relatives' choice as to whether they would like to receive a diary and what information delivery method is preferred.

Materials and methods:

Intensive care patients admitted for at least 3 days and their relatives participated in an exploratory mixed methods study. Interviews were conducted 3 to 5 months after discharge. Psychological distress was assessed using Kessler-10 and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Checklist − 5. Perceptions of benefit of diaries were assessed using a 4-point Likert scale. Differences were examined using Fisher exact test (P < .05).

Results:

Fifty-seven patients and 22 relatives consented to participation, with 22 patients and 22 relatives interviewed before data saturation. Psychological distress was evident in 25 (47%) patients and 5 (23%) relatives. Participants' psychological health was similar for those who perceived diaries as beneficial, and those who did not. Themes included memory, process, and impact, although opinions were diverse.

Conclusions:

Patient and relative preferences of receiving a diary are not related to psychological distress. Diverse opinions around common themes suggest the need for a range of interventions to aid psychological recovery.

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