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BACKGROUND: As survivorship following critical illness improves, there is greater focus on maximizing recovery. As well as physical effects, critical illness often results in cognitive impairments such as delirium, anxiety, or disorientation. In other populations, such as delirium, non-pharmacological approaches to manage these conditions are preferred, including re-orientation and ensuring personal care needs are met. Cognitive rehabilitation is also well documented for patients with neuropsychological deficits. Treatments include memory aids, compensation strategies, and functional execution. In other hospital populations, games and activities have been utilized to optimize patient engagement, stimulation, and aid recovery, but it is considered an emerging therapy in intensive care. AIMS: This service evaluation aimed to gather multidisciplinary team members' perceptions of the use of games based therapy (GBT) in critical care, including patient engagement and acceptability in clinical practice. STUDY DESIGN: A UK-based single-centre qualitative service evaluation. METHODS: Purposive sampling was used to identify interviewees within an adult intensive care who had experience of using a recently implemented GBT intervention. Qualitative data were collected through semi-structured interviews, which were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: Eight staff members across the multidisciplinary team were interviewed. One overarching theme of humanizing health care was identified, with three sub-themes of enhancing recovery, non-physical components of care, and bespoke tailoring. In addition, further recommendations for development of the service were summarized. CONCLUSION: GBT was well received by staff in clinical practice. It was described as a supportive adjunct to traditional care and rehabilitation, enhancing staff-patient relationships. While it was recognized it may not suit all patients, GBT has the potential to enhance cognitive and physical recovery.

Original publication




Journal article


Nurs Crit Care

Publication Date



adult intensive care, critical care nursing, person-centred nursing, qualitative research