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Do intensive care nurses consider intensive care less useful than their patients or patient's family?

Confederation of Australian Critical Care Nurses Journal
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s1033-3355(11)80105-0


Abstract Do Intensive Care Nurses feel that Intensive Care (IC) treatment is worthwhile for their patients? Can they speak for their patients, when considering how useful IC would be, in the event of life-threatening illness? And, do quality of life (QOL) considerations affect IC nurses', and patients', and patients' family perceptions of the usefulness of IC treatment? To determine how useful they perceived IC treatment to be 44 ex-patients (or their family if the patient had died) were asked how willing they would be to return to IC (or have their relative return to IC) if again threatened by critical illness. 16 Registered Nurses (RNs) were asked how useful they considered IC would be for patients they had nursed, if those patients' treatment in IC could be done all over again. RNs were also asked how useful they considered IC to be if they themselves required it. Patient (or family) responses were matched with the corresponding RN responses and compared (39 matched pairs). The comparison showed, 1 — Patients and families did not consider QOL effected their judgement of the usefulness of IC; 2 — Patients and families considered IC useful for all periods of survival; 3 — RNs considered IC much less useful than patients and families; 4 — QOL was a significant consideration for RNs when assessing the usefulness of IC for their patients. These results have implications for RNs who attempt to represent the patients' view when assessing the usefulness of IC.

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