Psychological and psychosocial stressors perceived by the mechanically ventilated patient include intensive care unit environmental factors, communication factors, stressful symptoms, and the effectiveness of interventions. The studies reviewed in this article showed four stressors commonly identified by mechanically ventilated patients including dyspnea, anxiety, fear, and pain. Few interventional studies to reduce these stressors are available in the literature. Four interventions including hypnosis and relaxation, patient education and information sharing, music therapy, and supportive touch have been investigated in the literature and may be helpful in reducing patient stress. The advanced practice nurse is instrumental in the assessment of patient-perceived stressors while on the ventilator, and in the planning and implementation of appropriate interventions to reduce stressors and facilitate optimal ventilation, weaning, or both.

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