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Intensive Crit Care Nurs. 2004 Aug;20(4):190-9.

Reclaiming the everyday world: how long-term ventilated patients in critical care seek to gain aspects of power and control over their environment.

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  • 1Critical Care Programs, Faculty of Nursing and Health, Griffith University Gold Coast, PMB 50 Gold Coast Mail Centre, Qld 9726, Australia.


Critical care nurses are increasingly seeking to base patient care on evidence derived from research studies. The purpose of this study was to explore the meanings former patients attributed to being on long-term mechanical ventilation in a critical care unit (CCU) in Australia. Using Heideggerian phenomenology, unstructured interviews were undertaken with nine participants. Data were analysed thematically using the method developed by van Manen. Thematic analysis revealed four major themes. This article presents the findings from the theme titled: Reclaiming the everyday world, which describes how the study participants gained comfort from the presence of nurses and their families, sought control over their treatments, and questioned and interpreted the environment, in order to reclaim self. The study highlighted the central role of nurses in patient care, and served as a basis for a number of recommendations, which include recognising the significant role of nurses and family in patient care, and being aware that patients may want more control over their environment and instigate ways to facilitate this. Further research is warranted to examine CCU patients' perceived level of control and power, and to investigate the extent and type of involvement CCU patients would like to have in their care.

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