Patient involvement in micro-decisions in intensive care
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionPatient Education and Counseling. 2020, 103 (11), 2252-2259. 10.1016/j.pec.2020.04.020
Objective The objective of this study was to explore how bedside micro-decisions were made between conscious patients on mechanical ventilation in intensive care and their healthcare providers. Methods Using video recordings to collect data, we explored micro-decisions between 10 mechanically ventilated patients and 60 providers in interactions at the bedside. We first identified the types of micro-decisions before using an interpretative approach to analyze the decision-making processes and create prominent themes. Results We identified six types of bedside micro-decisions; non-invited, substituted, guided, invited, shared and self-determined decisions. Three themes were identified in the decision-making processes: 1) being an observer versus a participant in treatment and care, 2) negotiating decisions about individualized care (such as tracheal suctioning or medication),and 3) balancing empowering activities with the need for energy restoration. Conclusion This study revealed that bedside decision-making processes in intensive care were characterized by a high degree of variability between and within patients. Communication barriers influenced patients’ ability to express their preferences. An increased understanding of how micro-decisions occur with non-vocal patients is needed to strengthen patient participation. Practice Implications We advise providers to make an effort to solicit patients’ preferences when caring for critically ill patients.