Implementing integrative therapies in adult critical care: Barriers and strategies

Papathanassoglou, Elizabeth, Park, Tanya, Punjani, Neelam, Pokharel, Bijaya, Taha, Maysa, and Hegadoren, Kathleen (2024) Implementing integrative therapies in adult critical care: Barriers and strategies. Australian Critical Care. (In Press)

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Background: Critically ill patients experience intense physical and psychological stressors in the intensive care unit (ICU). More than half of ICU survivors report overwhelming mental health symptoms after ICU discharge, such as post-traumatic stress symptoms, anxiety, and depression. Relaxation-inducing integrative therapies such as guided imagery, massage, therapeutic touch, music therapy, and spirituality-based healing practices have the potential to promote comfort and relaxation and improve patient outcomes.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore the attitudes of healthcare professionals towards the implementation of relaxation-inducing integrative therapies in critical care, barriers to implementation, and potential strategies to overcome them.

Methods: We conducted seven focus group interviews with 23 critical care clinicians (70% nurses, 17% allied health professionals, 13% physicians). Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Data were thematically analysed using an inductive content analysis approach.

Findings: Results reveal a constant interplay between mostly positive personal attitudes towards implementation of integrative therapies and the perceived culture and priorities of the unit. The main benefits for critically ill patients as perceived by participants were promotion of comfort, sleep, and coping, increase of trust, and decrease of pain and stress. As for barriers, dominant themes were a perceived lack of evidence, cost, and time constraints and the fear of loss of professional credibility. Participants related nurses' education and training, family involvement, and leadership were seen as main strategies for implementation.

Conclusions: The dominant ICU culture needs to be considered when implementing integrative therapies. Education, access to evidence, and role modelling are proposed as means to shift the ICU culture towards utilisation of integrative therapies in critical care.

Item ID: 82243
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1878-1721
Keywords: Critical care; Intensive care unit; Relaxation-inducing therapies; Integrative therapies; Attitudes; Health care professionals
Copyright Information: © 2023 Australian College of Critical Care Nurses Ltd. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2024 02:02
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4205 Nursing > 420501 Acute care @ 100%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2001 Clinical health > 200199 Clinical health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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