Anxiety, depression and PTSD symptoms in relatives of ICU patients: A review of the literature
Tedstone, Josephine E.
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Studies using designated, reliable and valid mental health questionnaires or structured clinical interviews measuring anxiety, depression or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in family members of adult intensive care patients were reviewed with reference to design, measures used and main findings. The majority described anxiety levels, which may be initially high, but reduce significantly after discharge. Existing characteristics of relatives, patient characteristics and elements of the ICU environment may all predispose family members to high levels of initial anxiety. Some interventions to reduce anxiety in the short term have been successful, and elements of these methods could be incorporated into routine family care in ICU. There is a lack of research investigating the long-term mental health of relatives who continue to care for patients some months after discharge.