Despite emphasis on identifying personal and clinical characteristics that place patients at higher risk for posttraumatic stress syndrome after intensive care, the extent of screening for the syndrome in intensive care patients is unknown.
To examine the feasibility and acceptability of a screening tool to detect posttraumatic stress syndrome, screen for the syndrome soon after discharge from intensive care to identify patients at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder, and determine personal and clinical factors related to higher scores on the screening instrument.
A single-center, cross-sectional design was used. At 2 to 4 weeks after hospital discharge, 41 patients treated in an intensive care unit completed the screening instrument and the Screening Experience Questionnaire via telephone. Associations between participants’ characteristics and scores were examined, and screening experiences were described.
Participants reported that the screening instrument was easy to understand, caused little distress, and could be completed in an acceptable time frame. Participants reported that they had not been screened via a formal process or received education during or after their stay in the unit. Among the participants, 44% preferred screening in the outpatient setting. Higher scores on the screening tool were associated with history of depression, moderate levels of sedation, and intensive care unit delirium.
The majority of intensive care patients most likely are not being screened for posttraumatic stress syndrome despite a higher risk for the syndrome in these patients than in the general population.