Critically ill patients are at risk for posttraumatic stress syndrome (PTSS) after hospitalization. This can lead to development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other long-term medical and psychiatric disorders. Warlan and colleagues examined the use of a posttraumatic stress instrument to screen for high PTSS and identify factors related to higher levels. They found the following:
Patients found the tool easy to use and understand.
Of the study group, 17% had high scores for PTSS.
High PTSS scores were associated with a history of depression, receiving moderate levels of sedation, and experiencing delirium while being treated in the intensive care unit (ICU).
None of the patients had received any formal education about the risk of ICU-related PTSD. Although further study is needed, the authors recommend identifying PTSS to provide early intervention services and possibly improve patient outcomes.
See Article, pp 509–515