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Aging and Post-Intensive Care Syndrome–Family (PICS-F): A Critical Need for Geriatric Psychiatry

Patricia Serrano, MD; You Na P. Kheir, MD; Sophia Wang, MD; Sikandar Khan, DO; Leslie Scheunemann, MD, MPH; and Babar Khan, MD, MS.

The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

Medical Journal

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Critical Care Physicians

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Post-intensive care syndrome–family (PICS-F) describes the psychological symptoms that affect the family members of patients hospitalized in the intensive care unit (ICU) or recently discharged from the ICU. Geriatric psychiatrists should be concerned about PICS-F for several reasons. First, ICU hospitalization in older adults is associated with higher rates of cognitive and physical impairment, compared to older adults hospitalized in non-ICU settings or dwelling in the community. This confers a special burden on the caregivers of these older ICU survivors compared to other geriatric populations.Second,as caregivers themselves age, caring for this unique burden can be more challenging compared to other geriatric populations. Third, evidence for models of care centered on patients with multi morbidity and their caregivers is limited. A deeper understanding of how to care for PICS and PICS-F may inform clinical practice for other geriatric populations with multi morbidity and their caregivers. Geriatric psychiatrists may play a key role in delivering coordinated care for PICS-F by facilitating timely diagnosis and interdisciplinary collaboration, advocating for the healthcare needs of family members suffering from PICS-F, and leading efforts within healthcare systems to increase awareness and treatment of PICS-F. This clinical review will appraise the current literature about the impact of critical illness on the family members of ICU survivors and identify crucial gaps in our knowledge about PICS-F among aging patients and caregivers.

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