Södra Älvsborgs Hospital, The General Intensive Care Unit, Sweden; Faculty of Caring Sciences, Work Life & Social Welfare, University of Borås, SE-501 90 Borås, Sweden. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Western Europe today is a culturally diverse society and expected to become more so in the future. When patients from unfamiliar cultures become critically ill and require intensive care, this places considerable demands on the cultural and linguistic competencies of the intensive care staff. Existing research regarding the transcultural aspects of intensive care is scarce and, in Sweden, non-existent.
To explore the experiences of critical care nurses and enrolled nurses in caring for culturally diverse patients in intensive care units.
Four focus group interviews were conducted with a total of 15 interviewees. The collected data were subjected to qualitative content analysis.
The findings mostly concerned the nursing staff's experiences of caring for relatives. Caring for the relatives of culturally diverse patients was described as challenging due to linguistic and cultural barriers.
To overcome linguistic and cultural barriers, intensive care units should be reorganised and restructured to create a more welcoming environment for relatives. Alternative communication methods should be developed and traditional ways of using support from interpreters support must be re-evaluated. Education to ensure cultural competence and the promotion of an intercultural approach is key and the development of research programmes is recommended.