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Many Nurses Believe in Sedation for Comfort of Ventilated Patients

This is despite clinical guidelines calling for limiting sedation of patients on mechanical ventilation

man on respirator

TUESDAY, July 2, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- More than half of critical care nurses believe sedation is needed to minimize discomfort and distress among patients receiving mechanical ventilation, according to survey results published in the July issue of the American Journal of Critical Care.

Jill L. Guttormson, Ph.D., R.N., from the Marquette University College of Medicine in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and colleagues surveyed 177 members of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses using the Nurse Sedation Practices Scale to measure nurses' self-reported sedation practices and factors that affect them.

The authors note that respondents were mostly staff nurses (68 percent) with a bachelor's degree in nursing (63 percent). There was a positive association between nurses' attitudes toward the effectiveness of sedation in relieving patients' distress during mechanical ventilation and their intention to administer sedatives. Two-thirds of nurses (66 percent) agreed that sedation was necessary for patients' comfort, and one-third (34 percent) agreed that limiting patients' recall was a desired outcome of sedation. Nurses with more experience or a critical care nursing certification had a less positive response to the effectiveness of sedation in minimizing distress.

"More than half of nurses still agree that sedation is needed for patients' comfort, highlighting the need to consider nurses' attitudes when seeking to optimize sedation practices during mechanical ventilation," the authors write.

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