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School of Health Sciences

Improving sedation practices in intensive care


1st supervisor: Professor Leanne Aitken

2nd supervisor: Dr Fabiana Lorencatto

Research centre

Centre for Health Services Research

Project description

Most critically ill patients require sedation during their stay in intensive care. Evidence demonstrating the adverse outcomes associated with deep sedation is now extensive. Despite this evidence, over-sedation of critically ill patients continues to be reported as an issue.

Strategies designed to minimise over-sedation include improved assessment, the use of sedation protocols and specific interventions such as sedation interruption, although the evidence underpinning these interventions is limited. Further, adoption of sedation minimisation strategies is inconsistent within clinical practice.

This PhD is designed to develop an intervention to improve sedation management in the intensive care unit. A relevant conceptual framework, for example the Theoretical Domains Framework, will guide the enquiry. The PhD project is likely to begin with the conduct of a systematic review of one or more sedation interventions. A combination of methods such as interviews, observation and document review will then be used to help identify barriers and enablers associated with appropriate sedation management. Findings of this phase will then be used to develop or refine an intervention to improve sedation management and conduct feasibility testing of that intervention.

Recommended Skills / Prior Learning

  1. Clinical skills in critical care or an interest in the behaviour of clinicians in that setting
  2. Postgraduate research skills, e.g. those gained in a Masters programme containing a dissertation