To describe the prevalence, content and administration of intensive care unit diaries and follow-up practices offered to patients and their families in Norway.
Intensive care treatment has been associated with risks for new or increased health impairments affecting both patients and their families. These impairments have the potential of continuing beyond the acute phase of treatment. In parallel, preventive actions have gradually become an integrated part of critical care nursing, and in Norway, national recommendations for the use of intensive care unit diaries have been established.
A survey was conducted in Norwegian intensive care units offering care for adult patients, using a questionnaire asking about the frequency, administration and content of the follow-up offered to patients, their relatives, as well as bereaved family members.
Thirty-nine of 66 (59.1%) invited intensive care units answered the questionnaire. The majority (n = 33, 84.6%) of the responding units had follow-up routines. The provision of diaries was the most frequent follow-up activity (n = 24, 61.5%), and consultations postdischarge formed an integrated part of the diary practice. Consultations with bereaved were conducted in 21 (53.8%) of the intensive care units. About one quarter of the responding intensive care units had positions for follow-up nursing staff.
Nurse-led follow-up after critical care was a common activity in Norwegian intensive care units, comprising diaries and consultations offered to patients and family members. The follow-up was mainly driven by bottom-up processes conducted by dedicated nurses motivated by the patients' and their families' situation and feedback.
Adherence to recommendations, as well as the availability of defined positions for aftercare nurses or teams, may improve the implementation of follow-up practices and reduce suffering after discharge from Norwegian intensive care units.