Family members of critically ill patients experience indications of post–intensive care syndrome, including anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Despite increased use of long-term acute care hospitals for critically ill patients, little is known about the impact of long-term hospitalization on patients’ family members.
To examine indications of post–intensive care syndrome, coping strategies, and health-related quality of life among family decision makers during and after patients’ long-term hospitalization.
A single-center, prospective, longitudinal descriptive study was undertaken of family decision makers of adult patients admitted to long-term acute care hospitals. Indications of post–intensive care syndrome and coping strategies were measured on the day of hospital admission and 30 and 60 days later. Health-related quality of life was measured by using the Short Form-36, version 2, at admission and 60 days later.
The sample consisted of 30 family decision makers. On admission, 27% reported moderate to severe anxiety, and 20% reported moderate to severe depression. Among the decision makers, 10% met criteria for a provisional diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder. At admission, the mean physical summary score for quality of life was 47.8 (SD, 9.91) and the mean mental summary score was 48.00 (SD, 10.28). No significant changes occurred during the study period. Problem-focused coping was the most frequently used coping strategy at all time points.
Family decision makers of patients in long-term acute care hospitals have a significant prevalence of indications of post–intensive care syndrome.