Name of Media:

Effect of a Nurse-Led Preventive Psychological Intervention on Symptoms of Post traumatic Stress Disorder Among Critically Ill Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial


Dorothy M. Wade, PhD; Paul R. Mouncey, MSc; Alvin Richards-Belle, BSc; Jerome Wulff, PhD; David A. Harrison, PhD; M. Zia Sadique, PhD; Richard D. Grieve, PhD; Lydia M. Emerson, MPH; Alexina J. Mason, PhD; David Aaronovitch, BA; Nicole Als, BA; Chris R. Brewin, PhD; Sheila E. Harvey, PhD; David C. J. Howell, PhD; Nicholas Hudson, BA; Monty G. Mythen, MD; Deborah Smyth, BSc; John Weinman, PhD; John Welch, MSc; Chris Whitman, BSc; and Kathryn M. Rowan, PhD

Publisher or Source:


Type of Media:

Medical Journal

Media Originally for:

Critical Care Physicians, Nurses and/or Other Critical Care Medical Professionals

Country of Origin:

United Kingdom

Primary Focus of Media:

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

COVID-19 Related:



Importance: A meta-analysis of outcomes during the 6 months after intensive care unit (ICU) discharge indicate a prevalence for clinically important posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms of 25%.

Objective: To determine whether a nurse-led preventive, complex psychological intervention, initiated in the ICU, reduces patient-reported PTSD symptom severity at 6 months.

Design, Setting, and Participants: A multicenter, parallel-group, cluster-randomized clinical trial with integrated economic and process evaluations conducted in 24 ICUs in the United Kingdom. Participants were critically ill patients who regained mental capacity following receipt of level 3 (intensive) care. A total of 2961 eligible patients were identified from September 2015 to January 2017. A total of 2048 were approached for participation in the ICU, of which 1458 provided informed consent. Follow-up was completed December 2017.

Interventions: Twenty-four ICUs were randomized 1:1 to the intervention or control group. Intervention ICUs (n = 12; 669 participants) delivered usual care during a baseline period followed by an intervention period. The preventive, complex psychological intervention comprised promotion of a therapeutic ICU environment plus 3 stress support sessions and a relaxation and recovery program delivered by trained ICU nurses to high-risk (acutely stressed) patients. Control ICUs (n = 12; 789 participants) delivered usual care in both baseline and intervention periods.

Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary clinical outcome was PTSD symptom severity among survivors at 6 months measured using the PTSD Symptom Scale–Self-Report questionnaire (score range, 0-51, with higher scores indicating greater symptom severity; the minimal clinically important difference was considered to be 4.2 points).

Results: Among 1458 enrolled patients (mean [SD] age, 58 [16] years; 599 women [41%]), 1353 (93%) completed the study and were included in the final analysis. At 6 months, the mean PTSD Symptom Scale–Self Report questionnaire score in intervention ICUs was 11.8 (baseline period) compared with 11.5 (intervention period) (difference, −0.40 [95% CI, −2.46 to 1.67]) and in control ICUs, 10.1 (baseline period) compared with 10.2 (intervention period) (difference, 0.06 [95% CI, −1.74 to 1.85]) between periods. There was no significant difference in PTSD symptom severity at 6 months (treatment effect estimate [difference in differences] of −0.03 [95% CI, −2.58 to 2.52]; P = .98).

Conclusions and Relevance: Among critically ill patients in the ICU, a nurse-led preventive, complex psychological intervention did not significantly reduce patient-reported PTSD symptom severity at 6 months. These findings do not support the use of this psychological intervention.

To view the attached Video media file, Click Icon:

PostICU, Inc's library staff reviewed this copyrighted material contained in the library and reasonably believes that its inclusion in our library complies with the "Fair Use Doctrine" because: (1) our library's is for nonprofit and educational purposes; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work is related to our mission; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole is fair and reasonable; and (4) the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work will if impacted, should be enhanced, by its presence in our library.