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1.
Intensive Care Med ; 2022 Aug 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1966121

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, intensive care units (ICUs) around the world introduced virtual visiting to mediate the psychological impact of in-person visiting restrictions. Our objective was to evaluate levels of distress, depression, anxiety, and stress among family members experiencing virtual visits. METHODS: Multi-centre prospective observational study recruiting adult family members of critically ill patients in the United Kingdom (UK) using a bespoke virtual visiting solution (aTouchAway). We recruited participants and administered validated questionnaires digitally via their aTouchAway account. Prior to first virtual visit, participants completed the Distress Thermometer (score range 0-10) and the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS)-21. Following first and subsequent virtual visits, participants repeated the Distress Thermometer and completed the Discrete Emotions Questionnaire. RESULTS: We recruited 2166 adult family members of ICU patients in 37 UK hospitals. Most were grown up children (33%) or spouses/partners (23%). Most (91%) were ≤ 65 years. Mean (SD) pre-virtual-visit Distress Thermometer score was 7 (2.6) with 1349/2153 (62%) reporting severe distress. Pre-visit Distress Thermometer scores were associated with relationship type (spouse/partner OR 1.65, 95% CI 1.27-2.12) but not family member age, or length of ICU stay. Mean (SD) post-visit Distress Thermometer score provided by 762 (35%) participants was 1.6 (3.2) points lower than pre-visit (P < 0.001). Of participants experiencing multiple visits, 22% continued to report severe distress. Median (IQR) pre-visit DASS-21 score was 18 (2-42) (1754 participants). Severe-to-extremely severe depression, anxiety, or stress were reported by 249 (14%), 321 (18%), and 165 (9%) participants, respectively. Participants reported a range of emotions with reassurance being the most common, anger being the least. CONCLUSION: Family members exposed to COVID-19 pandemic ICU visiting restrictions experienced severe distress. One fifth of family members reported severe-to-extremely sever anxiety or depression. Distress score magnitude and prevalence of severe distress decreased after undertaking one or more virtual visits.

2.
Intensive Crit Care Nurs ; 72: 103264, 2022 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1851181

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To gain perspectives from family members about barriers and facilitators to virtual visit set up and conduct across intensive care unit settings in the United Kingdom to inform understanding of best practices. METHODS: We conducted a qualitative descriptive study recruiting a purposive sample of family members of adult intensive care unit patients experiencing virtual visiting during Jan to May 2021 of the COVID-19 pandemic. We used semi-structured qualitative interviews and a standard Thematic Analysis approach. RESULTS: We recruited 41 family-member participants from 16 hospitals in the United Kingdom. Facilitators to successful virtual visit set-up were preparation of the family, negotiating a preferred time, and easy-to-use technology. Facilitators to successful conduct were intensive care unit team member presence; enabling family involvement in care; inclusivity, accessibility, and flexibility; and having a sense of control. Barriers that created distress or conflict included restrictive virtual visiting practices; raising expectations then failing to meet them; lack of virtual visit pre-planning; and failing to prepare the patient. Barriers to visit conduct were incorrect camera positioning, insufficient technical and staff resources, issues with three-way connectivity, and lack of call closure. Recommendations included emotional self-preparation, increased technology availability, and preparing conversation topics. CONCLUSION: These data may guide virtual visiting practices during the ongoing pandemic but also to continue virtual visiting outside of pandemic conditions. This will benefit family members suffering from ill health, living at a distance, unable to afford travel, and those with work and care commitments, thereby reducing inequities of access and promoting family-centered care.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Critical Care/psychology , Family/psychology , Humans , Pandemics , Qualitative Research
3.
BMJ Open ; 12(4): e055679, 2022 04 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1832448

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To understand the experiences and perceived benefits of virtual visiting from the perspectives of intensive care unit (ICU)-experienced clinicians and non-ICU-experienced family liaison team members. DESIGN: Qualitative descriptive study. SETTING: Adult intensive care setting across 14 hospitals within the UK National Health Service. PARTICIPANTS: ICU-experienced clinicians and non-ICU-experienced family liaison team members deployed during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: Semistructured telephone/video interviews were conducted with ICU clinicians. Analytical themes were developed inductively following a standard thematic approach, using 'family-centred care' and 'sensemaking' as sensitising concepts. RESULTS: We completed 36 interviews, with 17 ICU-experienced clinicians and 19 non-ICU-experienced family liaison team members. In the context of inperson visiting restrictions, virtual visiting offered an alternative conduit to (1) restoring the family unit, (2) facilitating family involvement, and (3) enabling sensemaking for the family. Virtual visits with multiple family members concurrently and with those living in distant geographical locations restored a sense of family unit. Family involvement in rehabilitation, communication and orientation activities, as well as presence at the end of life, highlighted how virtual visiting could contribute to family-centred care. Virtual visits were emotionally challenging for many family members, but also cathartic in helping make sense of their own emotions and experience by visualising their relatives in the ICU. Being able to see and interact with loved ones and their immediate care providers afforded important cues to enable family sensemaking of the ICU experience. CONCLUSIONS: In this UK qualitative study of clinicians using virtual ICU visiting, in the absence of inperson visiting, virtual visiting was perceived positively as an alternative that promoted family-centred care through virtual presence. We anticipate the perceived benefits of virtual visiting may extend to non-pandemic conditions through improved equity and timeliness of family access to the ICU by offering an alternative option alongside inperson visiting.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Critical Care/psychology , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Pandemics , State Medicine
4.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-335457

ABSTRACT

Background: In many UK hospitals, the COVID-19 pandemic and visiting restrictions prevented families from seeing their critically ill relatives. Consequently, strategies for virtual family communication have had a rapid and pervasive integration. Our objective was to explore the experiences of newly-graduated doctors carrying out virtual visits during the pandemic, with the view to better inform the family communications training currently provided to medical students. Methods: We conducted a qualitative descriptive study using in-depth, semi-structured interviews and thematic analysis to explore the experiences of newly-graduated junior doctors who worked as family communication officers, facilitating virtual visiting, during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic (April to July 2020). Interviews lasted between 35-40 minutes, were digitally recorded and professionally transcribed. Interview transcripts were analysed thematically;NVivo software was used for data management. Results: We recruited 8 newly-graduated doctors;7 female, 1 male, with ages ranging from 23-27. Three main themes were carried through the participants’ experiences. The first theme “emotional demands'', describes the participants’ emotional response to working in busy ICUs during the pandemic, where the demand for virtual visits was vast, and the participants' exposure to relatives’ grief was overwhelming. The second theme illustrates the process by which participants rapidly acquired and honed new skills to successfully deliver family communication through a virtual platform. With the third theme of “resilience,” we learn about the sources of motivation participants tapped into to sustain working in the emotionally charged role of a pandemic family communication officer. Conclusion: This qualitative study highlights the combined emotional and technical challenges experienced by non-ICU-trained junior doctors working in a family communication role using virtual technology during the COVID-19 pandemic. We recommend the incorporation of virtual communication skills training into educational practice to better prepare the next generation of doctors for a new era of virtual family communication.

5.
BMJ Open ; 11(10): e052214, 2021 Oct 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1450607

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To comprehensively update and survey the current provision of recovery, rehabilitation and follow-up services for adult critical care patients across the UK. DESIGN: Cross-sectional, self-administered, predominantly closed-question, electronic, online survey. SETTING: Institutions providing adult critical care services identified from national databases. PARTICIPANTS: Multiprofessional critical care clinicians delivering services at each site. RESULTS: Responses from 176 UK hospital sites were included (176/242, 72.7%). Inpatient recovery and follow-up services were present at 127/176 (72.2%) sites, adopting multiple formats of delivery and primarily delivered by nurses (n=115/127, 90.6%). Outpatient services ran at 130 sites (73.9%), predominantly as outpatient clinics. Most services (n=108/130, 83.1%) were co-delivered by two or more healthcare professionals, typically nurse/intensive care unit (ICU) physician (n=29/130, 22.3%) or nurse/ICU physician/physiotherapist (n=19/130, 14.6%) teams. Clinical psychology was most frequently lacking from inpatient or outpatient services. Lack of funding was consistently the primary barrier to service provision, with other barriers including logistical and service prioritisation factors indicating that infrastructure and profile for services remain inadequate. Posthospital discharge physical rehabilitation programmes were relatively few (n=31/176, 17.6%), but peer support services were available in nearly half of responding institutions (n=85/176, 48.3%). The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in either increasing, decreasing or reformatting service provision. Future plans for long-term service transformation focus on expansion of current, and establishment of new, outpatient services. CONCLUSION: Overall, these data demonstrate a proliferation of recovery, follow-up and rehabilitation services for critically ill adults in the past decade across the UK, although service gaps remain suggesting further work is required for guideline implementation. Findings can be used to enhance survivorship for critically ill adults, inform policymakers and commissioners, and provide comparative data and experiential insights for clinicians designing models of care in international healthcare jurisdictions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Critical Illness , Cross-Sectional Studies , Follow-Up Studies , Humans , Pandemics , Research Report , SARS-CoV-2 , United Kingdom
6.
Ann Am Thorac Soc ; 18(10): 1685-1692, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1448592

ABSTRACT

Rationale: Restriction or prohibition of family visiting intensive care units (ICUs) during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic poses substantial barriers to communication and family- and patient-centered care. Objectives: To understand how communication among families, patients, and the ICU team was enabled during the pandemic. The secondary objectives were to understand strategies used to facilitate virtual visiting and associated benefits and barriers. Methods: A multicenter, cross-sectional, and self-administered electronic survey was sent (June 2020) to all 217 UK hospitals with at least one ICU. Results: The survey response rate was 54%; 117 of 217 hospitals (182 ICUs) responded. All hospitals imposed visiting restrictions, with visits not permitted under any circumstance in 16% of hospitals (28 ICUs); 63% (112 ICUs) of hospitals permitted family presence at the end of life. The responsibility for communicating with families shifted with decreased bedside nurse involvement. A dedicated ICU family-liaison team was established in 50% (106 ICUs) of hospitals. All but three hospitals instituted virtual visiting, although there was substantial heterogeneity in the videoconferencing platform used. Unconscious or sedated ICU patients were deemed ineligible for virtual visits in 23% of ICUs. Patients at the end of life were deemed ineligible for virtual visits in 7% of ICUs. Commonly reported benefits of virtual visiting were reducing patient psychological distress (78%), improving staff morale (68%), and reorientation of patients with delirium (47%). Common barriers to virtual visiting were related to insufficient staff time, rapid implementation of videoconferencing technology, and challenges associated with family members' ability to use videoconferencing technology or access a device. Conclusions: Virtual visiting and dedicated communication teams were common COVID-19 pandemic innovations addressing the restrictions to family ICU visiting, and they resulted in valuable benefits in terms of patient recovery and staff morale. Enhancing access and developing a more consistent approach to family virtual ICU visits could improve the quality of care, both during and outside of pandemic conditions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Communication , Critical Care , Cross-Sectional Studies , Family , Humans , Intensive Care Units , SARS-CoV-2 , United Kingdom
7.
BMC Ophthalmol ; 21(1): 276, 2021 Jul 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1309906

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Non-arteritic ischaemic optic neuropathy (NAION) is a rare but harmful complication of prone positioning. Prone mechanical ventilation is a therapeutic strategy which has been used extensively during the COVID-19 pandemic to treat acutely hypoxemic patients with COVID-19 related acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Though a small number of cases of unilateral NAION have been reported in patients testing positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we describe what is to our knowledge, the first reported case of bilateral NAION occurring in a patient proned extensively for the treatment of COVID-19 related ARDS. We consider the potential aetiological factors leading to NAION after prone mechanical ventilation in patients with COVID-19 and suggest strategies to protect against its development. CASE PRESENTATION: We report a case of severe, irreversible, visual impairment secondary to bilateral anterior ION in a fifty-five-year-old male who underwent eight episodes of prone mechanical ventilation to treat COVID-19 related ARDS. Once weaned from his sedation he reported bilateral painless vision loss, and bedside ophthalmological assessment identified a reduced visual acuity of 3/30 unaided in the left eye and counting fingers in the right. Dilated indirect ophthalmoscopy revealed inferotemporal optic disc oedema with splinter haemorrhages in the right eye and mild disc oedema, temporal pallor, and nerve fibre layer haemorrhages inferiorly in the left eye. Humphrey visual field 24 - 2 testing confirmed a severely constricted visual field with macular sparing on the right and depressed inferonasal vision with preserved peripheral vision on the left eye. OCT disc imaging shortly after diagnosis revealed bilateral disc swelling and flame haemorrhages in the right eye. CONCLUSIONS: NAION is a devastating, but preventable complication of prone positioning, which may pose significant risk of vision loss in patients with COVID-19 related ARDS.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Optic Neuropathy, Ischemic , Respiratory Distress Syndrome , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Optic Neuropathy, Ischemic/diagnosis , Optic Neuropathy, Ischemic/etiology , Pandemics , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/diagnosis , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/etiology , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/therapy , SARS-CoV-2 , Visual Acuity
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