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UK's ICU nurses lead way on sedation holding practice

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UK critical care nurses are leading the way in good practice on regularly interrupting the daily use of sedatives – known as sedation holding – in ICU patients, latest international research suggests.

Daily sedation holding in mechanically-ventilated ICU patients is part of the UK ‘ventilator care bundle’ and is also recommended by the Surviving Sepsis Campaign.

A national survey of 192 UK ICUs revealed that 78% carry out the practice, compared to just 40% in Canada, 31% in Denmark and 34% in Germany.

According to researchers, taking a patient off sedation for a short period of time to assess their condition reduces length of ICU stay and time spent on a ventilator.

Patients who have their sedation withheld also experience less ICU complications and undergo less neurological investigations, they added online in the journal Critical Care.

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