The use, prevalence and potential benefits of a diary as a therapeutic intervention/tool to aid recovery following critical illness in intensive care: a literature review
Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Aims and objectives: To critically appraise the available literature and summarise the evidence related to the use, prevalence, purpose and potential therapeutic benefits of intensive care unit diaries following survivors' discharge from hospital and identify areas for future exploration. Background: Intensive care unit survivorship is increasing as are associated physical and psychological complications. These complications can impact on the quality of life of survivors and their families. Rehabilitation services for survivors have been sporadically implemented and lack an evidence base. Patient diaries in intensive care have been implemented in Scandinavia and Europe with the intention of filling memory gaps, enable survivors to set realistic recovery goals and cement their experiences in reality. Design: A review of original research articles. Methods: The review used key terms and Boolean operators across a 34-year time frame in: CIHAHL, Medline, Scopus, Proquest, Informit and Google Scholar for research reports pertaining to the area of enquiry. Twenty-two original research articles met the inclusion criteria for this review. Results: The review concluded that diaries are prevalent in Scandinavia and parts of Europe but not elsewhere. The implementation and ongoing use of diaries is disparate and international guidelines to clarify this have been proposed. Evidence which demonstrates the potential of diaries in the reduction of the psychological complications following intensive care has recently emerged. Results from this review will inform future research in this area. Conclusions: Further investigation is warranted to explore the potential benefits of diaries for survivors and improve the evidence base which is currently insufficient to inform practice. The exploration of prospective diarising in the recovery period for survivors is also justified. Relevance to clinical practice: Intensive care diaries are a cost effective intervention which may yield significant benefits to survivors.