Older adults’ perceptions of feeling safe in an intensive care unit
Version of Record online: 6 JUN 2011
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Journal of Advanced Nursing
Volume 67, Issue 12, pages 2649–2657, December 2011
How to Cite
Lasiter, S. (2011), Older adults’ perceptions of feeling safe in an intensive care unit. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 67: 2649–2657. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2011.05714.x
- Issue online: 20 NOV 2011
- Version of Record online: 6 JUN 2011
- Accepted for publication 12 March 2011
- critical care nurses;
- feeling safe;
- grounded theory;
- intensive care;
- nurse–patient interaction;
- older adults
lasiter s. (2011) Older adults’ perceptions of feeling safe in an intensive care unit. Journal of Advanced Nursing67(12), 2649–2657.
Aim. This paper is a report of a study of older adults’ perceptions of feeling safe in an intensive care unit.
Background. Significant ageing of the world population is expected. Correspondingly, there is a growing global urgency for healthcare systems to prepare for the increased number of older adults who will require intensive care. Although patients have recounted situations in which feeling safe was essential to their experience, there is little empirical evidence about feeling safe for older adults in intensive care.
Method. In 2008, 10 older adults who suffered unexpected critical health events and who were admitted to intensive care units were recruited for this grounded theory study. Participants were interviewed after transferring to an intermediate care unit and again after discharge. They were asked to reflect upon and discuss their experiences of feeling safe in intensive care.
Findings. Participants’ actual and expected interaction with intensive care nurses was essential to their perceptions of feeling safe. Four main categories were identified as requisite to interaction with nurses: proximity, oversight, predictability and initiative. A substantive grounded theory of feeling safe for older adults in intensive care is presented.
Conclusion. Nurses must present themselves as accessible so patients perceive that they can initiate interaction with a qualified nurse. Patients must also see that nurses are monitoring them and believe that the nurses will help them if they experience a critical health event while in the intensive care unit.