Measuring Outcomes of an Intensive Care Unit Family Diary Program

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Abstract

Patients discharged from intensive care units are at risk of short- and long-term physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms known as post–intensive care syndrome. Family members of intensive care unit patients are at risk of similar symptoms known as post–intensive care syndrome–family. Both syndromes are common, and strategies to reduce risk factors should be employed. An intensive care unit diary project to help reduce these syndromes was implemented in 2 intensive care units using an evidence-based framework. The effects of these diaries were studied using the Family Satisfaction with Care in the Intensive Care Unit survey. Rates of referrals to a postintensive care unit recovery clinic were also observed in relation to the diaries. Although preliminary data did not reveal a significant increase in family satisfaction, the surveys provided important staff feedback. The diaries fostered feelings of compassion and caring as well as built trust between staff and family members of intensive care unit patients. The diaries increased referrals to the postintensive care unit recovery clinic.

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