Introducing video calls in an intensive care unit during the COVID-19 lockdown: a qualitative study


INTRODUCTION: During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, visits to hospitals were prohibited. Therefore, new ways of communicating with relatives about and with patients were needed. This study aimed to explore experiences made with video calls in an adult ICU.

METHODS: This study employed semi-structured group interviews conducted with six registered nurses from the ICU in a large hospital in Denmark who used video calls during the lockdown. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using systematic text condensation.

RESULTS: The analyses indicated that video calls were a useful alternative to physical meetings. The advantages of video calls were that relatives had risk-free access to the ICU and the patient's treatment, whereas patients gained a window into their home, and nurses used less planning time than physical visit. Finally, patients were less distracted by video calls than by visits. The challenges identified with video calls were difficulties for nurses to care for relatives, ethical aspects and technical issues.

CONCLUSIONS: Video calls were an effective tool for communication during the COVID-19 lockdown, presenting a number of advantages and challenges compared with in-person visits or telephone calls. By identifying and overcoming these challenges, video calls may become a beneficial supplement to in-person visits or telephone calls.

FUNDING: none.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Approved by the Danish Data Protection Agency (P-2020-931).

TidsskriftDanish Medical Journal
Udgave nummer6
StatusUdgivet - 16 maj 2022


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