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Developing a framework for implementing intensive care unit diaries: a focused review of the literature

Intensive care unit diaries have been shown to improve post-critical illness recovery, however, prior reports of diary implementation are heterogeneous. We sought to construct a common framework for designing and implementing Intensive Care Unit diaries based on prior studies. We conducted a focused review of the literature regarding intensive care diaries based on a systematic search of several databases. Two reviewers assessed 56 studies and data were abstracted from a total of 25 eligible studies conducted between 1990 and 2014. We identified key information regarding the development, design, and implementation of the journals. We then grouped elements that appeared consistently across these studies within three main categories: (1) diary target populations; (2) diary format and content; and (3) the manner of diary return and follow-up. Most studies were conducted in European countries in adult intensive care units and targeted patients in both medical and surgical units. The timing of diary initiation was based on the elapsed length of stay or duration of mechanical ventilation. We categorised diary format and content as: entry content, authors, use of standardised headings, type of language, initiation, frequency of entries, and physical location of diaries. Diaries were hand written and many studies found that photographs were an essential element in ICU diaries. We categorised the manner of diary return and follow-up. The context in which intensive care unit diaries were returned were felt to be important factors in improving the use of diaries in recovery. In conclusion, we describe a common framework for the future development of intensive care unit diaries that revolves around the target population for the diaries, their format and content, and the timing of their use. Future studies should address how these elements impact the mechanisms by which intensive are diaries exert beneficial effects.

Authors: Beg M; Scruth E; Liu V

Aust Crit Care. 2016 May 27.

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