Introduction: A prolonged illness requiring SICU care has a profound impact not only on the patient but also the family. Due to the length of the initial illness, the effect on the family may be substantial. Though fhanyj in the family related to ah illness are not surprising, the magnitude of these changes, particularly as they apply (o a prolonged critical illness, have not been well quantified. We expected that the family impact during and following a prolonged critical illness would be prolonged and would pervade multiple realms. Methods: In order to measure the family impact after a prolonged surgical illness, families of patients who had a SICU stay of >6 days were interviewed at entry, 1,3,6.9. and 12 months, or as long as the patient survived. A modified "Family Impact" survey included questions with respect to personal care provided to the patient (0-3), and categorical questions regarding the need to stop working, slop other activities, move, alter educational plans or lifestyle, family illness and lost savings. From Jury 1,1996June 30,1997 128 patients met the entry criteria and 102 families were interviewed Results: Baseline 1 month 3 months 6 months 9 months Personal Care 34% 58% 67% 49% 39% Quit Work 28% 45% 41% 37% 22% Quit Other 44% 84% 69% 45% 45% Lost Savings 12% 26% 34% 30% 45% Moved 4% 3% 5% 0% 0% Family Illness 11% 29% 30% 19% 17% Education 6% 8% 5% 5% 0% Lifestyle 30% 59% 66% 35% 39% These data suggest that 1) the impact of a prolonged SICU stay on a patients family is extensive, 2) the greatest effect on a family is in the first 3 months after an illness and 3) this impact has returned to baseline by 9 months. Conclusions: A patient with a prolonged SICU illness requires substantial care during and following hospitalization. This impact is both profound and prolonged, extending to all facets of a family's life. Support systems should account for both the patient's illness and the stress on the family for an extended period of time.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine