The management of agitation in adult critical care: Views and opinions from the multi-disciplinary team using a survey approach

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


To better understand the current strategies employed to manage patient agitation by capturing the views and opinions of the multi-disciplinary team within general Adult Critical Care Units in the UK.
Research methodology
Web-based questionnaire survey.
General Adult Critical Care Units in one region of the United Kingdom
Main outcome
The online survey was circulated to approximately 900 members of staff at eight sites in the UK. The online survey was accessed by 239 (26.5%) clinicians, 163 (18.1%) completed the first two screening questions rendering them valid for inclusion. For those who responded, 98.5% acknowledge the increased risk of harm in the presence of agitation. Additionally, 76.3% felt the management of agitated patients could be improved. Many participants felt equipped in the recognition of delirium and agitation but did not feel they had the knowledge to support decision-making around acute agitation management. There is concern about the use of physical restraint and the over-reliance on sedation. There appears to be inconsistent care delivery exacerbated by staff rotational changes.

There are valid concerns raised surrounding the legality of physical restraint and what level of restrictive action is permissible. Currently, we have no robust evidence to determine the effectiveness of one intervention to prevent treatment interruption over another. There is a need to explore the clinical decision-making process that underpins the care of a patient experiencing agitation in Adult Critical Care.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 14 Jun 2019