Can counselling help patients and families after Intensive Care: a pilot study and evaluation

Organisation : Intensive Care Unit, Royal Infirmary Edinburgh
Grant Amount : £ 39,281
Project Dates : May 2015 to August 2017

Surviving critical illness is associated with chronic psychological distress. Anxiety occurs in 43% of patients and depression in 30% of patients at 12 months after hospital discharge. Post-traumatic stress (e.g. distressing flashbacks) occurs in 51% of patients and 33% of family members. Despite known effects on recovery, family life, social life and return to work, specialist psychological support does not currently exist after Intensive Care (ICU).

Reported benefits among other patient groups (e.g. cancer) include the alleviation of psychological distress, improved quality of life and enhanced (caregiver) coping.

In this project, we will pilot a dedicated counselling service for patients and families (including the bereaved) after ICU. We will evaluate our service using robust research methodology and disseminate our findings widely to inform guidelines for future practice.