Assessing, monitoring and managing continuous intravenous sedation for critically ill adult patients and implications for emergency nursing practice: A systematic literature review

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australasian Emergency Nursing Journal, 2015, 18 (2), pp. 59 - 67
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© 2014 College of Emergency Nursing Australasia Ltd. Background: Critically ill mechanically ventilated patients in ED have complex needs; chief among these is adequate sedation in addition to effective pain-relief. Emergency nurses are increasingly responsible sedation and analgesia for this complex cohort of patients. The aim of this review was to examine (1) the evidence around assessing, monitoring and managing continuous intravenous sedation for critically ill adult patients, and (2) the implications for emergency nursing practice. Study design: Systematic review. Method: The review of literature extended from 1946 to 2013 and examined peer review journal articles, policy and guidelines to provide a more complex understanding of a phenomenon of concern. A total of 98 articles were incorporated and comprehensively examined. Results: Analysis of the literature identified several implications for emergency nursing practice and the management of continuous intravenous sedation: workload, education, monitoring and assessing sedation and policy. Conclusion: Limited literature was found that directly addressed Australasian emergency nursing practices' in managing on-going intravenous sedation and analgesia for patients. Balancing patient sedation and analgesia requires highly complex knowledge, skills and expertise; the degree of education and training required is above that obtained during pre-registration nurse training. No state or national models of education or training were identified to support ED nurses' practices in managing sedation. Little research has addressed the safety of continuous sedation use in ED.
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