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Meeting the needs of critical care patients after discharge home: a qualitative exploratory study of patient perspectives

Allum, L., Connolly, B. & McKeown, E. (2017). Meeting the needs of critical care patients after discharge home: a qualitative exploratory study of patient perspectives. Nursing in Critical Care, doi: 10.1111/nicc.12305


To describe former critical care patients’ perspectives on the support needed to optimise recovery.

With improved survival rates in critical care, increasing focus is being placed on survivorship and how best to support patients return to former activity. Little is known about what support patients themselves view as important, and this has implications for efficacy and acceptability of services provided.

Study design
A qualitative exploratory study of the experiences of support received by critical care survivors.

Research Methodology
Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with twelve critical care survivors, recruited from a charity and a patient and public involvement group. The interviews were analysed using thematic analysis to describe patterns in the participants’ experiences.

Four themes of support were described as: effective management of transfer anxiety; tailored information provision; timely access to services and a supportive social network.

Survivors of critical care should be equipped with information about their critical care stay, ongoing health issues and recovery; and provided with holistic care at home. Critical care follow-up was an effective way of meeting many of these needs, but needs to be flexible to be useful to attendees. Peer support groups (face-to-face and online) provided information, reassurance, a social network and an avenue for those who had longer-lasting problems than current services provide for.

Relevance to Clinical Practice
Whilst there are commonalities in the problems faced by critical care survivors, recovery is highly individualised, and current support services do not have sufficient flexibility to cater for this. This study shows that many survivors experience aftereffects of critical care that outlast the support they are given. These longer-term survivors are often excluded from research studies because of fears of recall bias, resulting in poor understanding of their experiences.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Nursing in Critical Care on 22 June 2017, available online:
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
Text - Accepted Version
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