Use of Evidence in Clinical Guidelines and Everyday Practice for Mechanical Ventilation in Swedish Intensive Care Units
The authors declare that they have no competing interests. ACE designed and supervised the study, participated in data collection and analysis, and drafted and revised the manuscript with contribution of all coauthors. GV carried out the data collection and analysis, and contributed to the revision of the paper. HB, AS and YW provided intellectual input to the planning and analysis of the study, and to the manuscript. This study was carried out with the support of a research grant in 2011 from the Strategic Research Programme in Care Sciences, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm Sweden.
Background and Aim
One way to support evidence-based decisions in health care is by clinical guidelines, in particular, in highly specialized care such as intensive care units (ICUs). The aim of this study was to explore the development and dissemination of guidelines regarding mechanical ventilation (MV) in Swedish ICUs, and the use of evidence on MV in guidelines and everyday practice.
Inviting all general ICUs in Sweden (N = 65), a national survey was performed on occurrence of MV guidelines, and a review of submitted ICU guidelines by four evidence items from the AGREE instrument. In addition, ICU head nurses and senior physicians were interviewed using semistructured and open-ended questions to explore development and dissemination of MV guidelines, staff adherence or nonadherence to guidelines, and everyday practice of MV management bedside.
Fifty-five ICUs (85%) participated in the study; 51 ICUs submitted a total of 245 guidelines, including recommendations for medical or nursing MV actions. None of the documents included how evidence had been sought or assessed, while 22% included a list of references (n = 54). No guidelines included patients’ experiences of MV. According to the managers, the guidelines were most often compiled by a multiprofessional team sharing the information through the ICU's website. The guidelines were mainly used as a basis for MV management bedside, but variation occurred as a result of personal preferences, lack of awareness, and adjustment to patients’ needs.
Local MV guidelines seem to constitute a basis for healthcare practice in Swedish ICUs, even though the evidence proposed was limited with respect to how it was attained and lacked patient perspectives. In addition, the strategies used for dissemination were limited, suggesting that further initiatives are needed to support knowledge translation in advanced healthcare environments such as ICUs.