Impact of a prolonged surgical critical illness on patients' families

Sandra M. Swoboda, Pamela A. Lipsett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

• BACKGROUND Long-term effects on patients' families after a prolonged stay in a surgical intensive care unit are unclear. We hypothesized that illnesses requiring more than 7 days ' stay in the surgical intensive care unit would have significant, long-lasting effects on patients 'families that would be related to patients' functional outcome. • METHODS All patients who stayed in the general surgery intensive care unit 7 days or more between July 1, 1996, and June 30, 1997, were enrolled. A total of 128 patients met the entry criteria, and families of surviving patients were interviewed at baseline and 1, 3, 6, and 12 months later. Maximum dysfunction/impact was compared with patients 'functional outcome. • RESULTS Significant disturbances in the families' lives occurred throughout the 12 months of this study. Almost 60% of responding families provided a moderate or large amount of caregiving between 1 and 9 months after a prolonged illness, 44.9% had to quit work after 1 month, and more than 36.7% of families had lost savings after 1 year. Some families moved to a less expensive home, delayed educational plans, or delayed medical care for another family member. • CONCLUSIONS An acute surgical illness that results in a prolonged stay in an intensive care unit has a substantial effect on patients' families that is maximal between 1 and 3 months and parallels the patient's functional outcome. Systems that provide support to both patients and their families should be emphasized in the hospital and after discharge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-466
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Critical Care
Volume11
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2002

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care

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