Purpose: Diaries summarizing intensive care are routine practice in some countries, although evidence to support diary use is limited. The purpose of this study was to identify whether distress post-intensive care influences patients' and relatives' choice as to whether they would like to receive a diary and what information delivery method is preferred.
Materials and methods: Intensive care patients admitted for at least 3 days and their relatives participated in an exploratory mixed methods study. Interviews were conducted 3 to 5 months after discharge. Psychological distress was assessed using Kessler-10 and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Checklist - 5. Perceptions of benefit of diaries were assessed using a 4-point Likert scale. Differences were examined using Fisher exact test (P<.05).
Results: Fifty-seven patients and 22 relatives consented to participation, with 22 patients and 22 relatives interviewed before data saturation. Psychological distress was evident in 25 (47%) patients and 5 (23%) relatives. Participants' psychological health was similar for those who perceived diaries as beneficial, and those who did not. Themes included memory, process, and impact, although opinions were diverse.
Conclusions: Patient and relative preferences of receiving a diary are not related to psychological distress. Diverse opinions around common themes suggest the need for a range of interventions to aid psychological recovery.
- Posttraumatic stress
- Intensive care
- Intensive care diaries