Reducing instances of PTSD in ICU survivors

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Nursing


Rational: As many as 20-30% of adult ICU survivors will experience PTSD related to their time as a patient in the ICU. The symptoms of PTSD can last months or years and prevent a full recovery from critical injury or illness. Patients that experience ICU delirium are at the highest risk for developing post-ICU PTSD. Many hospitals in Europe have begun using ICU after care programs to help patients cope with traumatic ICU memories and prevent a PTSD diagnosis. Purpose and Methods: The purpose of this project was to develop a nurse-led ICU after care program to prevent instances of PTSD in adult ICU survivors. Patients volunteered to participate in this project after seeing advertisements posted in the ICU and after receiving invitation letters in the mail at home. Patients were screened for PTSD using the PTSS-14, had a chance to speak with an ICU nurse about their experiences in ICU, and one patent was even able to return to the ICU and speak about that experience. Patients were then re-screened for PTSD approximately 2 weeks after their after care experience. Findings: Small sample size precludes any evaluation of this intervention. However, all participants did demonstrate evidence of decreased anxiety scores after their participation. Implications: Future ICU aftercare programs may have increased participation if the data collection period is extended to at least six months and if the patients are contacted closer to 3 months post ICU discharge. PTSD itself and the Rural Nursing Theory may decrease participation in these programs without specific interventions to address them.




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