Feasibility and perceptions of PICU diaries

Elizabeth A. Herrup, Beth Wieczorek, Sapna R. Kudchadkar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objectives: To determine the feasibility of implementing an ICU diary in the pediatric critical care setting and to understand the perceptions held by family members who receive the diaries after PICU discharge. Design: Observational pilot study. Setting: PICU in a tertiary academic hospital in the United States. Participants: Critically ill pediatric patients admitted to the PICU and their families. Interventions: The addition of a PICU diary to a patient's routine care. Measurements and Main Results: Twenty families of critically ill children admitted to the PICU were enrolled in the PICU diary pilot study between May 2017 and March 2018. Patients who had an anticipated length of stay of at least 3 days and whose families were English-speaking were included. The median age of patients was 6 years, ranging from newborns to 18 years old, and the median length of stay was 11.5 days (interquartile range, 8.5-41 d). A total of 453 diary entries were written in 19 diaries over 433 PICU days, the majority of which were composed by bedsides nurses (63%). Follow-up surveys sent to parents 2 weeks after PICU discharge revealed that of the parents who had contributed to the diary, most enjoyed doing so (7/8). Nine of 12 parents had reviewed the diary at least once since discharge, and all parent respondents found the diary to be a beneficial aspect of their experience after PICU discharge. Conclusions: The use of ICU diaries in the PICU setting is feasible and perceived as beneficial by families of critically ill children. Future studies are needed to better understand if PICU diaries may objectively improve psychologic outcomes of patients and family members after PICU admission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E83-E90
JournalPediatric Critical Care Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


  • caregivers
  • child
  • critical illness
  • intensive care units
  • mental health
  • pediatric
  • posttraumatic
  • stress disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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