Empowerment in intensive care: patient experiences compared to next of kin and staff beliefs.

Intensive & critical care nursing : the official journal of the British Association of Critical Care Nurses

PubMedID: 19648012

Wåhlin I, Ek AC, Idvall E. Empowerment in intensive care: patient experiences compared to next of kin and staff beliefs. Intensive Crit Care Nurs. 2009;25(6):332-40.
Experiences of critically ill patients are an important aspect of the quality of care in intensive care units. If next of kin and staff try to empower the patient, this is probably performed in accordance with their beliefs about what patients experience as empowering. As intensive care patients often have difficulties communicating, staff and next of kin need to interpret their wishes, but there is limited knowledge about how correct picture next of kin and staff have of the intensive care patient's experiences. The aim of this study was to compare intensive care patients' experiences of empowerment with next of kin and staff beliefs. Interviews with 11 intensive care patients, 12 next of kin and 12 staff were conducted and analysed using a content analysis method. The findings showed that the main content is quite similar between patient experiences, next of kin beliefs and staff beliefs, but a number of important differences were identified. Some of these differences were regarding how joy of life and the will to fight were generated, the character of relationships, teamwork, humour, hope and spiritual experiences. Staff and next of kin seemed to regard the patient as more unconscious than the patient him/herself did.