• Acta Anaesthesiol Scand · Jun 2024

    Patient recall of intensive care delirium: A qualitative investigation.

    • Kirstine N la Cour, Nina C Andersen-Ranberg, Camilla Mortensen, Lone M Poulsen, Ole Mathiesen, Ingrid Egerod, and Marie Collet.
    • Zealand University Hospital, Centre for Anaesthesiological Research, Koge, Denmark.
    • Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2024 Jun 8.

    BackgroundMany patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) experience delirium. Understanding the patient perspective of delirium is important to improve care and reduce suffering. The aim of our study was to investigate the subjective patient experience of delirium, delirium-related distress, and delirium management in ICU.MethodsOur study had a qualitative multicenter design applying individual interviews and thematic analysis. Participants were critically ill adult patients that were determined delirium positive according to validated delirium screening tools during ICU admission. The interviews were conducted after ICU discharge when patients were delirium-free as assessed by the "Rapid clinical test for delirium" (4AT) and able to participate in an interview.ResultsWe interviewed 30 patients choosing the main themes deductively: Delirium experience; Delirium related distress; and Delirium management. Despite variations in recollection detail, ICU survivors consistently reported delirium-related distress during and after their ICU stay, manifesting as temporal confusion, misinterpretations, and a sense of distrust towards ICU staff. Delusions were characterized by a blend of factual and fictional elements. Impaired short-term memory hindered communication and intensified feelings of isolation, neglect, and loss of control.ConclusionThe ICU survivors in our study recalled delirium as an unpleasant and frightening experience, often leading to delirium-related distress during and after their ICU stay, indicating the necessity for enhanced assessment and treatment.© 2024 The Author(s). Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica Foundation.

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