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Why should I keep an ICU Diary?

There are many important advantages of keeping an ICU diary such as Post-ICU.

We will highlight a number of reasons here, all backed by scientific studies. 

To summarize, a diary helps both the ICU-patient and their family members. With a diary, patients can look back on their recovery from the ICU. This helps them to communicate about their experiences with their families and promotes a person-centered approach to care. At the same time, family members of an ICU-patient have been reported to experience less stress and more involvement, resulting in higher satisfaction. By reading the entries and looking at photos, patients gain a deeper understanding of their condition when they were in intensive care. The diary can also help them understand what it was like for their families whilst they were ill. Research has shown that diaries can reduce the occurrence of depression,  anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in both patients and their relatives.

All these symptoms are referred to as post-intensive care syndrome (PICS) or PICS-F when family members suffer from these symptoms.

Why not try the digital diary yourself? Experience the emotional impact a diary can have for patients and their family

The Benefits of Journaling in an ICU Diary

Journaling is the act of writing in a diary. It has been shown to decrease blood pressure, ease symptoms of depression, and improve immune functioning. Journaling about emotionally distressing situations helps in healing and processing. It affects a person’s thoughts, feelings, and physical health in a positive way. Journaling is not only beneficial for patients and families, but for healthcare workers as well. Studies have shown that journaling increases nurses’ compassion while decreasing both burnout and compassion fatigue symptoms. In addition, nurses have indicated three themes that they experienced as positive results of journaling:

1) it allowed them to unleash their innermost feelings,

2) it helped them to articulate and understand their own feelings concretely, and

3) journaling helped nurses to make more reasonable decisions in their work.


ICU diaries offer benefits for patients, their families, healthcare staff and hospitals

  • Data for analysis: Post-ICU’s digital diary provides a lot of valuable data and insights.

    You will get access to statistical data for analysis and research.

    Improve your quality of care based on usage data or even diary entries (after consent).

  • Cost savings: using an ICU diary will reduce readmissions and therapies.
  • Keeping a digital diary reduces burnout among ICU staff because it connects them with the patient’s survival journey.
    Reading stories and seeing photos from family members gives ICU professionals purpose and stamina to keep going.

  • Saves time: it’s true that making entries into Post-ICU diary takes time, but overall, writing in the icu diary will save healthcare staff time. In Post-ICU, healthcare workers and family members both contribute to the diary.
    This means that family members will receive regular updates on the situation of the patient.
    Therefore, nurses will spend less time answering ad hoc questions.

  • Enhanced communication with family members: writing together in the icu diary enables family members to always have the latest updates on activities surrounding the patient. This helps them to find better visiting hours.
    Additionally, family members have the opportunity to reread the provided information, which aids in better processing and retention.
    Nurses will not have to repeat explanations as much.

  • Increased satisfaction among healthcare staff: the ICU diary promotes a more person-centered approach to the care they give.
    Getting to know a patient and their family is often appreciated by nurses.
  • Decrease in post-intensive care syndrome-family (PICS-F) symptoms, such as:
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms

  • Better and more transparent communication with healthcare workers. The structure of the diary makes communication more manageable. Additionally, family members have the opportunity to reread information given by nurses, which aids in better processing and retention.

    Increased family satisfaction:
    the ICU is perceived as more positive regarding transparency and accessibility. Moreover, families appreciate being more involved in the treatment of their loved one. Empowerment: the “information gap” between healthcare staff and patients’ families decreases.
    Decrease in post-intensive care syndrome (PICS) symptoms, such as:
  • ICU acquired weakness
  • Problems with memory, processing information, planning, problem solving and visual-spatial awareness
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms
  • Patient can reconstruct the time they lost when they were asleep.
  • Increased patient satisfaction.
  • Looking through the ICU diary supports the healing and coping process.
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