Title: Exploring hong kong general ward nurses experiences of transitional care for patients discharged from ICU
The transition of patients from intensive care units (ICUs) to general wards is a regular occurrence to relieve manpower pressures and financial constraints. Early transfer of patients significantly increases the risk of ICU readmission, an increased length of hospital stay and in-hospital mortality.
Nurses role in promoting continuity of care is key for post-ICU patients to prevent ICU readmission. However, there are limited studies to explore general ward nurses’ experiences taking care of 1 post-discharged ICU patients. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore Hong Kong general ward nurses' experiences of transitional care for patients discharged from ICU.
This study used a descriptive and exploratory qualitative approach and used inductive thematic analysis through an iterative approach. Focus group interviews with 20 registered nurses who are currently working in the general ward environment of an acute care hospital in Hong Kong and have cared for a post-ICU patient within the past 6-12 months.
There were four overarching themes (1) Feeling unsupported, helpless & alone in providing quality nursing care, (2) ‘Not knowing what I need to know” Feeling uninformed and ignorant of the needs of the post-ICU patient, (3) Remaining hyper-vigilant in the face of adversity, and (4) Being better informed reduces my anxiety and stress.
Nurses working in general wards in Hong Kong experienced significant challenges of caring for the post ICU patients. May felt out of their depth and struggled with the complexity of care required to look after these patients. Communication and ICU specific terminology was a major barrier to effective care.