Musculoskeletal impairments after critical illness: A protocol for a qualitative study of the experiences of patients, family and health care professionals
King E., Gustafson O., Williams A., Vollam S., Williams MA.
AbstractBackgroundSurvivors of critical care are at risk of long‐term disability from musculoskeletal (MSK) impairments. These can have a biopsychosocial impact on the patient and their families with a reduction in health‐related quality of life, increased health care utilization, caregiving roles and associated psychological distress.AimsTo understand the experiences of patients living with MSK impairments following critical illness, and family and health care professionals supporting them, to inform the development of a future intervention to improve MSK health following critical illness.Study DesignA four‐site qualitative case study approach will be taken, with each of the four hospital sites and associated community services representing a case site. We will conduct semi‐structured interviews with 10–15 patients/family members and 10–15 health care professionals about their experiences of MSK impairment following critical illness. Interviews will be audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using reflexive thematic analysis within a descriptive phenomenological approach. Alongside interview data, analysis of publicly available policy documentation, patient‐facing materials and information from service leads at the four sites will be conducted. Discourse analysis will be used for this case study documentation.ResultsThis protocol describes a qualitative study exploring the experiences of patients living with MSK impairments following critical illness, and the family and health care professionals supporting them.Relevance to Clinical PracticeData analysis will illuminate their experiences and enable data richness to contribute to the qualitative body of evidence of intensive care unit (ICU) survivors. These findings will inform the development of a complex intervention for MSK rehabilitation after critical illness.