Term Paper: ICU Care &amp Environment

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ICU Care and ICU Environment

The ICU is an intensive and often chaotic work environment for nurses and patients alike. Some authors have described the ICU environment as one where patients often enter in a state of physiological crisis; as such it is vital that nursing activities be structured in a manner to promote rather than inhibit patient recovery (Cilik, et. al, 2004). Further most patients admitted to intensive care units are more likely to be distressed, anxious and alarmed which may negatively impact recovery or their ability to sleep (Cilik, et. al, 2004). Lack of sleep and other factors may affect patient outcomes.

It is increasingly important that nursing staff understand any and all factors contributing to positive or negative patient outcomes within the ICU. Multiple studies have been conducted examining the effects of nursing care in the ICU and the ICU environment on patient recovery rates. From these studies researchers have determined a number of variables may influence patient recovery. Some positive factors identified include familial visitations, which may promote a more caring, comfortable and relaxed environment within the ICU (Gonzales, et. al, 2004). In some cases however, such as in the case when children visit adults in an ICU environment, increasing tensions and anxiety may result (Clarke, 2000).

Other factors, which may contribute to an improved environment, include collaboration between nursing staff, other health technicians and primary medical care providers (Cilik, et al., 2004). Still other studies suggest that nursing staff must take advantage of technological advances within the ICU environment to facilitate optimal patient care (Wilkstrom & Larsson, 2003). There is clear evidence that the ICU environment is improved by the overall commitment and dedication proffered by skilled and caring nurses whose primary intent is promoting patient recovery and comfort (Wilkin & Selvin, 2003). These ideas and more are summed in the research articles provided below.

Article 1 - "Sleep disturbance: The patient care activities applied at the night shift in the intensive care unit."

In this research study the authors intend to determine how the frequency and type of nursing activities in sedated vs. non-sedated patient care wards on the ICU affect patients sleep and recovery rates. The study was conducted on a surgical intensive care unit and involved a group of 30 sedated and 30 non0sedated patients. Nursing care was delivered to patients for twelve hours and measured on three consecutive nights. The results of the study suggest that more invasive procedures were performed on sedated rather than non-sedated patients to facilitate a better outcome.

Specifically the researchers attempted to answer how nurses working in surgical ICU unites utilize their time and to determine what the frequency and types of nursing activities were that could be applied to sedated and non-sedated patients. The study shows that continuous activities performed on all patients included blood pressure and temperature monitoring, back and mouth care and suctioning. The authors suggest that the activities nurses engage in are meant to maximize physiological stability in patients and that nurse staff and clinicians should work together more collaboratively to help limit the patient disturbances that occur between midnight and five am to facilitate better sleep patterns in patients.

Article 2 - "Visiting Preferences of Patients in the Intensive Care Unit and In a Complex Care Medical Unit"

This study examines patient preferences for visiting among family members in an intensive care unit compared with a complex care medical unit. The researchers examine sixty-two patients using structured interviews for this research study. There intent is to measure patient's preferences for visiting and stressors compared with the benefits of visiting in an intensive care setting. The results of the study show that patients in both units felt that visitation was not stressful as most visitors provided patients with numerous benefits including increased comfort, relaxation and calming. The researchers conclude that visiting guidelines should be flexible to accommodate the needs of family members as patient visitation clearly benefits ICU patients in a positive manner.

Article 3 - "Children visiting family and friends on adult intensive care units: The nurses' perspective."

In this research study the authors examine the effects children's visitations have on adult patients in intensive care units. The purpose of the pilot study conducted by the researchers is to examine and describe the perceptions nurses have toward children visiting in the ICU setting. The aim of the researchers was to collect greater understanding why children's visitations are often limited or restricted. The findings of the study suggest that… [END OF PREVIEW]

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