Extent and application of ICU diaries in Germany in 2014

Peter Nydahl, Dirk Knueck, Ingrid Egerod

20 Citationer (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Diaries written for patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) have been used in many European countries since the early 1990s to support patients and their relatives in their understanding of the ICU experience. ICU diaries have been introduced in Germany since 2008 via the internet, newsletters, newspapers, lectures and publications in German nursing journals.

AIM: The aim of the study was to update our knowledge of the extent and application of ICU diaries in Germany in 2014.

DESIGN: The study had a prospective mixed methods multicenter design.

METHOD: All 152 ICUs in the two German federal states of Baden-Württemberg and Schleswig-Holstein were surveyed to identify units that had implemented ICU diaries. An additional 69 ICUs from other parts of Germany were included in the survey. We excluded diaries used in neonatal ICUs. Out of 43 units using diaries 14 were selected for semi-structured key-informant telephone-interviews on the application of ICU diaries.

RESULTS: According to the survey, 8 out of 152 ICUs in the two federal states of Baden-Württemberg and Schleswig-Holstein had implemented ICU diaries and another six were planning implementation. Another 35 ICUs in other areas of Germany had implemented diaries and three units were planning to do so. Interviews were conducted with nurses at 14 selected ICUs. Informants reported successful adaption of the diary concept to their culture, but variability in application. No units were identified where all nursing staff participated in keeping ICU diaries.

CONCLUSION: Six years after the introduction of ICU diaries, ICU nurses in Germany are becoming familiar with the concept. Nursing shortage and bureaucratic challenges have impeded the process of implementation, but the adaption of ICU diaries to German conditions appears to be successful and is still in progress.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Implementation of ICU diaries is feasible after adjusting for cultural and legal issues.

TidsskriftNursing in critical care
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)155-62
StatusUdgivet - 2015


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