Discharge practices for the intensive care patient : a qualitative exploration in the general ward setting

Cognet, Stephanie & Coyer, Fiona (2014) Discharge practices for the intensive care patient : a qualitative exploration in the general ward setting. Intensive and Critical Care Nursing, 30(5), pp. 292-300.

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To explore how registered nurses (RNs) in the general ward perceive discharge processes and practices for patients recently discharged from the intensive care unit (ICU).


Patients discharged from the ICU environment often require complicated and multifaceted care. The ward-based RN is at the forefront of the care of this fragile patient population, yet their views and perceptions have seldom been explored.


A qualitative grounded theory design was used to guide focus group interviews with the RN participants.


Five semi-structured focus group interviews, including 27 RN participants, were conducted in an Australian metropolitan tertiary referral hospital in 2011. Data analyses of transcripts, field notes and memos used concurrent data generation, constant comparative analysis and theoretical sampling.


Results yielded a core category of 'two worlds' stressing the disconnectedness between ICU and the ward setting. This category was divided into sub categories of 'communication disconnect' and 'remember the family'. Properties of 'what we say', 'what we write', 'transfer' and 'information needs' respectively were developed within those sub-categories.


The discharge process for patients within the ICU setting is complicated and largely underappreciated. There are fundamental, misunderstood differences in prioritisation and care of patients between the areas, with a deep understanding of practice requirements of ward based RNs not being understood. The findings of this research may be used to facilitate inter departmental communications and progress practice development.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 77775
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: discharge planning, intensive care nursing, patient safety, patient transfer
DOI: 10.1016/j.iccn.2014.04.004
ISSN: 0964-3397
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000) > Clinical Nursing - Secondary (Acute Care) (111003)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
Deposited On: 17 Oct 2014 05:45
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2014 21:26

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