Background: Telehealth-based intensive care unit recovery clinics (ICU-RCs) can increase access to post-ICU recovery care for patients and their families. It is crucial to understand patients' and caregivers' experience of illness and recovery to build patient- and family-centered ICU-RCs.
Objective: To explore patients' and caregivers' perceptions of ICU hospitalization and recovery.
Methods: Individual semistructured telephone interviews were conducted with 14 patients and 12 caregivers who participated in a telehealth ICU-RC. This study was guided by qualitative description methodology. Conventional content analysis was used to analyze the data.
Results: Patients described their ICU hospitalization as scary, traumatic, and lonely. Participants' feedback on hospitalization ranged from praise to criticism. Patients wanted more realistic and detailed prognostication about post-ICU recovery and more physical therapy after discharge. Patients strongly valued the mental health component of ICU-RC visits, which contrasted with the scant attention paid to mental health in other postdischarge health care settings. Their knowledge about post-ICU recovery and connectedness to a primary care provider varied.
Conclusions: Examining patients' and caregivers' perceptions of ICU hospitalization and recovery highlights ICU-RC components that can be strengthened to support patient- and family-centered recovery. The ICU-RC staff should invite patients to share feedback about their ICU stay; give a timely, realistic prognosis for recovery; offer mental health consultations; provide physical therapy; and partner with patients and their caregivers to develop and deliver post-ICU care.
©2022 American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.