Intensive care discharge summaries for general practice staff: A focus group study

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Abstract

Background Understanding how patients and relatives can be supported after hospital discharge is a UK research priority. Intensive Care Unit (ICU) discharge summaries are a simple way of providing GPs with the information they require to coordinate ongoing care, but little evidence is available to guide best practice. Aim This study aimed at better understanding the information needs of GP staff (GPs and practice nurses) supporting former patients of ICUs and their families following discharge from hospital, and identifying the barriers/facilitators associated with ICU-primary care information transfer. Design and setting This was a qualitative exploratory study of practices and participants throughout the UK. Method Audiotaped focus group discussions, complemented by small-group/individual interviews, were conducted with 15 former patients of ICUs, four relatives, and 20 GP staff between June and September 2015. Demographic data were captured by questionnaire and qualitative data were thematically analysed. Results Findings suggest variability in discharge information experiences and blurred lines of responsibility between hospital and GP staff, and patients/relatives. Continuity of care was affected by delayed or poor communication from the hospital; GPs' limited contact with patients from critical care; and a lack of knowledge of the effects of critical illness or resources available to ameliorate these difficulties. Time pressures and information technology were, respectively, the most commonly mentioned barrier and facilitator. Conclusion Effective rehabilitation after a critical illness requires a coordinated and comprehensive approach, incorporating the provision of wellcompleted, timely, and relevant ICU-primary care discharge information. Health professionals need an improved understanding of critical illness, and patients and families must be included in all aspects of the information-sharing process.

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APA

Bench, S., Cornish, J., & Xyrichis, A. (2016). Intensive care discharge summaries for general practice staff: A focus group study. British Journal of General Practice, 66(653), e904–e912. https://doi.org/10.3399/bjgp16X688045

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