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AACN Advanced Critical Care:
doi: 10.1097/NCI.0b013e3182209279
Symposium Symptom Management in Critically Ill Patients

The Importance of Assessing Symptoms and Symptom Clusters in Critical Care Units

Sousa, Karen H. PhD, RN; McDermott, Carrie M. MSN, RN, CCRN, APRN-BC; Weiss, Jason MEd

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Abstract

In the highly technological environment of critical care, a comprehensive symptom assessment from the patient's perspective is routine. There is a paucity of research related to symptom management in the critical care environment. The lack of understanding of the symptom experience for critical care patients could represent missed opportunities to manage symptoms and minimize suffering. This article discusses the importance of assessing symptoms and symptom clusters in critical care patients and challenges surrounding the assessment of symptom clusters. By understanding symptom clusters, critical care nurses can develop more comprehensive assessments, as well as more tailored intervention strategies.

© 2011 American Association of Critical–Care Nurses

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