Understanding the pre-operative information needs of patients and their relatives in intensive care units

Jenny McGaughey*, Sheila Harrisson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


A descriptive study was undertaken to assess the pre-operative information needs of patients and relatives admitted electively to intensive care units (ICU) following surgery. A convenience sample of five patient and relative groups were interviewed pre- and postoperatively. The interviews were analysed using thematic content analysis (Burnard 1991). The findings showed that the patient and relative dyads' 'expressed worries' related to the anaesthetic, surgery and ICU; patients stated that their relatives were more anxious than they were. The findings are similar to the pre-operative 'information needs' in which patient and relative dyads sought information regarding the surgery, visiting and treatment regimes in ICU. The most important information need identified was 'the need to understand the operation'. From the findings it was concluded that the nature of the information sought by ICU patients and their relatives was associated with perceived harms and threats related to the hospitalisation. Information which was structured to meet individual needs reduced anxiety and increased satisfaction with the information provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-194
Number of pages9
JournalIntensive and Critical Care Nursing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care


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