BACKGROUND: Currently there is a trend towards less or no use of sedation of mechanically ventilated patients. Still, little is known about how different sedation strategies affect relatives' satisfaction with the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
AIM: To explore if there was a difference in relatives' personal reactions and the degree of satisfaction with information, communication, surroundings, care and treatment in the ICU between relatives of patients who receive no sedation compared with relatives of patients receiving sedation during mechanical ventilation in the ICU.
METHOD: A survey study using a questionnaire with 39 questions was distributed to relatives of mechanically ventilated patients, who had been randomised to either sedation with daily wake up or no sedation.
RESULTS: Forty-nine questionnaires were sent out and 36 relatives answered. The response rate was 73%. We found no differences in relatives' personal reactions or in the degree of satisfaction with information, communication, care and treatment in the ICU between relatives of patients in the two groups. Relatives of patients treated with no sedation felt more bothered by disturbances in the surroundings compared with relatives of patients who were sedated (p=0.03).
CONCLUSION: Treating the patient during mechanical ventilation with no sedation does not affect relatives' satisfaction adversely.