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Delirium, Diary, Family, Intensive care units, Nursing



  1. Iannuzzi, Luigi RN
  2. Villa, Silvia MSN, RN
  3. Vimercati, Simona RN
  4. Villa, Marta RN, CCN
  5. Pisetti, Carmen Francesca RN
  6. Vigano, Giulia RN
  7. Fumagalli, Roberto MD
  8. Rona, Roberto MD
  9. Lucchini, Alberto RN


Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the implementation of an intensive care unit (ICU) diary in an Italian general ICU.


Methods: A mixed-methods pilot study was performed, enrolling all patients who received an ICU diary in an Italian ICU during the study period.


Results: Study results are presented in 2 sections: (1) diary evaluation and content themes and (2) follow-up program results. Sixty-six patients were assessed for eligibility. Diary administration was possible in 31 patients (47%). The overall diary entries, in 31 analyzed diaries, were 1331, with a median of 25 entries (interquartile range, 16-57 entries) for each diary. Participants' relatives and friends wrote a median of 1.2 (0.3-1.6), and nurses wrote 1.1 (0.8-1.2). Other ICU staff wrote a total of 24 entries (2%). Follow-up results revealed low incidence of delirium detected in only 1 patient at the 7-day visit (3%). The median value of PTSS-10 (Post Traumatic Stress Symptoms) score was 12 (3.5-12) at the 7-day visit, 6 (1.5-12) at 3 months' telephone interview, and 12 (1.5-17) at 6 months' visit.


Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first Italian report about the introduction of an ICU diary. The diaries were easily implemented in our clinical practice as a "low-cost" initiative. In our study, nurses and participants' relatives and friends wrote a similar number of entries in each analyzed diary. This project could be effective in reducing survivors' delirium and post-traumatic stress disorder and in implementing mutual understanding between clinical staff and relatives during ICU stay.