Background: Recovery from critical illness can be prolonged and can result in a number of significant short-and long-term psychological consequences. These may be associated with the patient's perception of the intensive care experience.
Aim: The aims of the study were to assess patients' perceptions of their intensive care unit (ICU) experience and the effect of these on anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress up to 6 months after discharge.
Method: One hundred and three participants were recruited from six ICUs from one Critical Care Network in the United Kingdom. A prospective, longitudinal study was designed to assess anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress symptomatology and patients' perceptions of their intensive care experience. Data were collected on three occasions: after intensive care discharge and before hospital discharge, and 2 months and 6 months later. Measures included the impact of events scale, hospital anxiety and depression scale and intensive care experience questionnaire.
Results: Anxiety, depression, avoidance and intrusion scores did not significantly reduce over time. At hospital discharge there was a significant association between patients' perceptions of their intensive care experience and anxiety, depression, avoidance and intrusion scores at hospital discharge.
Conclusion: Standardised assessment of an intensive care experience is important. It provides information about the patient experience which can inform care practice within ICU, following discharge to the ward and, in the longer term, rehabilitation.
- Emotional outcome
- Critical care
- Patient experience