Caregiver fatigue in the intensive care unit : an integrative review
Silvers, Holly Allison
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Caregiver fatigue is a real problem facing critical care nurses. The causes need to be identified and addressed in a timely manner so prevention strategies can be developed. Reduction of caregiver fatigue may subsequently prevent burnout and keep nurses from leaving the profession or experiencing distress in their personal and professional lives. The purpose of this integrative review was to explore the causes of caregiver fatigue among critical care nurses working in intensive care units. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were established prior to the integrative review and five empirical studies were identified that met the criteria. Potential causes of caregiver fatigue identified in the evidence were staffing concerns, shortage of nurses, overtime, increased work load, scheduling conflicts, communication barriers, younger age of patient, severity of injury, polytrauma, family grief and anger, inadequate pain control, medication errors, emotional distress, constancy of presence, burden of responsibility, negotiating hierarchical power, engaging in bodily caring, being mothers, daughters, aunts, sisters, and increased personal stressors. Better understanding of the causes of caregiver fatigue will hopefully lead to the development and implementation of interventions to preserve the mental health of nurses and prevent further decline and burnout.