The patient and their family’s perspectives on agitation and its management in adult critical care: A qualitative study

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Abstract

Background
Agitation is frequently experienced by patients during critical illness, this is distressing for both the patient and their family. In addition, an acute episode of agitation can create management dilemmas for clinical teams. What is not understood is the patient and family’s perspective of agitation and any subsequent management strategies employed.
Objective
To understand the perspectives of patients and family members on the experience of agitation in adult critical care.
Method
An interpretive qualitative study using semi-structured interviews was undertaken with 13 participants, patient participants (n = 7) with the mean critical care length of stay 59 days (±70.88 days). Family members (n = 6) all opted to be interviewed with the patient present.
Findings
Three themes generated from the data: 1) The recollection of sensations and delusions. 2) Communication and its impact. 3) Managing agitation, what helped and what did not.
Conclusion
The presence of family members has a positive effect on the patient during episodes of agitation. Their involvement in care requires promotion.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103163
JournalIntensive and Critical Care Nursing
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Agitation
  • Critical care
  • Family
  • Patient
  • Qualitative research

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