This practice originated in Sweden where it was recognised that patients who recover from critical illness often have little or no memories of their time in ICU. This 'memory gap' may contribute to depression and post-traumatic stress disorder in ICU survivors, particularly where patients have been sedated for long periods of time and have 'lost' several weeks or months.
Family members may also find it useful to read what others have written and this may help keep them up-to-date with their loved one's condition.
Photographs showing the patient with their family & friends around them may also help to reassure them that they were not alone during this very difficult time.
The diaries are considered to be the property of the patient and are given to them on discharge from ICU. If the patient (or family) do not wish to keep the diary, it will be stored in ICU and can be claimed at any time up to one year after discharge.
If you would like more information regarding the use of patient diaries or are an ICU professional considering introducing them into your unit, please contact Bianca Komen (ACNM, Wellington ICU)
This page was last updated on Monday, 04 March 2013 10:24:22