Digital diary

Nurses’ experiences with an innovative digital diary intervention in the intensive care unit: a qualitative exploration

This article was originally published here

Intensive care nurses. 2022 Jan 25:103197. doi: 10.1016/j.iccn.2022.103197. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: Diaries have been used regularly in various intensive care units (ICU) in international settings. Paper diaries kept by loved ones have become impractical during the COVID-19 pandemic due to ICU visit restrictions and infection control considerations. The implementation of a web-based application, called “Post-ICU” diary, offered loved ones the ability to collaboratively write in a digital diary, easily upload photos, video and audio clips, and feel engaged with the patient at a safe distance. Additionally, it made it easy for nurses to provide up-to-date information. The purpose of this pilot study was to explore critical care nurses’ experiences with the implementation process and application of the post-ICU diary.

METHODS: A multicenter qualitative design with focus group interviews was used with intensive care nurses in November 2020. Data from the interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim, then thematic analysis was performed to categorize the data.

RESULTS: Participants from three hospitals (n = 14), 57% of whom were female, with a mean age of 40.6 years, described their experiences with the post-ICU diary. The following themes emerged: implementation process, COVID-19, integration and motivation. The results showed that ICU nurses perceived the post-ICU diary as applicable in daily care and endorsed the added value of the post-ICU digital diary as a new opportunity to improve human-to-human connectivity. However, nurses also encountered barriers such as unfriendly access, lack of time, and reluctance to write short messages.

CONCLUSION: Critical care nurses reported that the post-ICU diary had added value for patients and their loved ones. However, in the beginning, they also encountered obstacles such as lack of time, insufficient integration with their own work processes and difficulties in writing short messages themselves. For the structural integration of the intervention, tailored strategies are needed to help critical care nurses use this innovative post-ICU journal.

PMID:35090798 | DOI:10.1016/j.iccn.2022.103197