The meaning of respect and dignity for intensive care unit patients: A meta-synthesis of qualitative researches

Nursing Ethics (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Aim To synthesize qualitative research on perspectives and understandings of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients, family members, and staff regarding respect and dignity in ICU, in order to explore the connotations and meanings of respect and dignity in ICU. Design A qualitative meta-synthesis. Methods The Chinese and English databases were systematically searched, including PubMed, Web of Science, CINAHL, Embase, Cochrane Library, CNKI, Wangfang Data, VIP, and CBM from each database’s inception to July 22, 2023. Studies were critically appraised using the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) Critical Appraisal Checklist for Qualitative Research. Qualitative data were extracted, summarized, and meta-synthesized. (PROSPERO: CRD42023447218). Results A total of 9 studies from 6 countries were included in the meta-synthesis. Thirty-six main themes and 67 sub-themes were extracted, which were eventually integrated into 9 categories and 4 themes: (1) integrity of humanity; (2) autonomy; (3) equality; (4) environmental support. Conclusion To maintain patient dignity, it is necessary to create an environment of respect within the ICU where healthcare professionals uphold the concept of preserving human integrity and respect patients' autonomy and equality. Healthcare professionals need to value the dignity of ICU patients and treat them as unique individuals during treatment and care. Hospital managers should also strive to create a respectful environment to provide environmental support for dignity care implementation.

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