University of Oulu

Vanhanen, M, Meriläinen, M, Ala-Kokko, T, Kyngäs, H, Kaakinen, P. Intensive care professionals' perceptions of the quality of counselling provided in the ICU: A cross-sectional study. Nurs Crit Care. 2023; 28(6): 1004-1011. doi:10.1111/nicc.12782

Intensive care professionals’ perceptions of the quality of counselling provided in the ICU : a cross-sectional study

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Author: Vanhanen, Minna1,2; Meriläinen, Merja3,4; Ala-Kokko, Tero4,5;
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Nursing Science and Health Management, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Oulu University of Applied Sciences, Oulu, Finland
3Oulu University Hospital, Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
5Research Group of Surgery, Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, University of Oulu and Medical Research Center (MRC), Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
6Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District, Oulu, Finland
7Medical Research Centre, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-09-01


Background: Intensive care professionals (ICPs) have a key role in counselling adult intensive care unit (ICU) patients and their family members. The counselling provided to ICU patients and their family members can be described based on the content, implementation, benefits, and resources.

Aims: The study had two specific aims: first, to assess ICPs’ perceptions of the quality of counselling provided to ICU patients and their family members; and second, to explore which factors ICPs feel is associated with the quality of counselling.

Design and Methods: A cross-sectional survey of ICPs working in adult ICUs in Finnish university hospitals. Data were collected using the Counselling Quality Instrument. The data were analysed by descriptive statistics and chi-square and t-test statistical methods.

Results: A total of 182 ICPs returned the questionnaire, reflecting a response rate of 18.6%. Most of the respondents were nurses (97%) and the mean age was 42 years. The ICPs reported having adequate time for patient- (77%) and family-centered (73%) counselling, but only 47% felt that their units had the appropriate facilities. There were statistically significant differences between patient- and family-centered counselling and the ICP’s self-assessed competence (p < .001), goal-oriented counselling (p < .001), and atmosphere during counselling (p < .001). ICPs’ attitudes towards counselling impacted how these professionals assessed patients’ and family members’ confidence, along with patient recovery (p < .001).

Conclusions: This study confirms that the provision of high-quality counselling has beneficial effects; however, it also indicates that there is a need for training that considers each ICP’s professional experience and patient- and family-centered factors, which may differ from one another.

Relevance to Clinical Practice: According to ICPs, the quality of counselling can be enhanced by empowering ICPs to improve counselling and providing appropriate ICU facilities for counselling, such as a private room for family members.

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Series: Nursing in critical care
ISSN: 1362-1017
ISSN-E: 1478-5153
ISSN-L: 1362-1017
Volume: 28
Issue: 6
Pages: 1004 - 1011
DOI: 10.1111/nicc.12782
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 316 Nursing
Copyright information: © 2022 The Authors. Nursing in Critical Care published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Association of Critical Care Nurses. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.