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Post intensive care syndrome-family in Intensive Care Units: “What is it in the name?” A Scoping Definitive Review

Frank Kiwanuka and Sanaz Akhavan Rad

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Medical Journal

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

No

Aim: In this review, we sought to succinctly review what Post intensive care syndrome is, it’s risk factors, consequences, assessment, diagnosis, prevention and treatment among family members of intensive care patients.
Background: The proportion of family members caring for a patient in intensive care units is expected to proportionally increase with increase in utilization of intensive care units due to various reasons. Subsequently, unfavorable physical, psycho-social responses due to exposure to complications following admission of a family member in intensive care due to critical illness will consequently increase among family members. These unfavorable family responses to critical illness have been termed “Post intensive care syndrome-family (PICS-F).” Post intensive care syndrome-family encompasses: anxiety, acute stress disorder, post-traumatic stress, depression and complicated grief. Healthcare providers as well as family members need to be knowledgeable on the extent, diagnosis, prevention and outcomes of these sequelae. Relationship to the patient, younger patients, prior experience of ICU, low economic status, length of ICU stay, unmet self-care, communication needs and distance from the hospital seem to predispose family members to PICS-F. Longer distance from hospital and higher resilience seem to protect family members from PICS-F. Prevention of PICS-F includes: effective family-ICU staff communication, enhancing resilience and coping, post discharge planning and follow-up interventions.
Conclusion: results highlight the importance of acknowledging experiences of family members having a patient admitted in intensive care unit. Healthcare professionals need to have insights into this phenomenon and optimally intervene to prevent these physiological and psycho-social sequelae.

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