This article by Lewis and Taylor was published in “Intensive and Critical Care Nursing” October 2017.
Objective: To determine if current levels of anxiety, depression and acute stress disorder symptoms differ significantly among family members of intensive-care-unit patients depending upon previous intensive-care experience.
Research Design: This study used a prospective, descriptive study design.
Setting: Family members (N=127) from patients admitted within a 72-hour timeframe to the medical, surgical, cardiac and neurological intensive care units were recruited from waiting rooms at a medium-sized community hospital in the Southeastern United States.
Main outcome measures: Participants completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, the Impact of Events Scale-Revised, the Acute Stress Disorder Scale and a demographic questionnaire.
Results: A multivariate analysis revealed that family members of intensive-care-unit patients with a prior intensive-care experience within the past two years (n=56) were significantly more likely to report anxiety, depression and acute stress symptoms, Λ=0.92, F =2.70, p=0.034, partial η2=0.08, observed power=0.74.
Conclusion: Results of this study show that family members’ psychological distress is higher with previous familial or personal intensive-care experience. Nurses need to assess for psychological distress in ICU family members and identify those who could benefit from additional support services provided in collaboration with multidisciplinary support professionals.
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