Objectives: Critical illness can have a significant psychological impact on patients and their families. To inform the design of a larger trial, we assessed feasibility of ICU diaries and psychoeducation to prevent posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety following ICU stays. Design: Four-arm pilot randomized controlled trial. Setting: A 10-bed tertiary ICU in Winnipeg, MB, Canada. Patients: Critically ill patients greater than 17 years old with predicted ICU stays greater than 72 hours and mechanical ventilation duration greater than 24 hours. Interventions: Patients were randomized to usual care, ICU diary, psychoeducation, or both ICU diary and psychoeducation. Measurements and Main Results: Our primary objective was to determine feasibility measured by enrollment/mo. Secondary outcomes included acceptability of the ICU diary intervention and psychological distress, including patients' memories 1 week post ICU using the ICU Memory Tool, posttraumatic stress disorder (Impact of Events Scale-Revised), depression, and anxiety symptoms (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) 30 and 90 days post ICU. Over 3.5 years, we enrolled 58 patients, an average of 1.9 participants/mo. Families and healthcare providers wrote a mean of 3.2 diary entries/d (sd, 2.9) and indicated positive attitudes and low perceived burden toward ICU diary participation. A majority of patients reported distressing memories of their ICU stay. Those who received the diary intervention had significantly lower median Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale anxiety (3.0 [interquartile range, 2-6.25] vs 8.0 [interquartile range, 7-10]; p = 0.01) and depression (3.0 [interquartile range, 1.75-5.25] vs 5.0 [interquartile range, 4-9]; p = 0.04) symptom scores at 90 days than patients who did not receive a diary. Conclusions: ICU diaries are a feasible intervention in a tertiary Canadian ICU context. Preliminary evidence supports the efficacy of ICU diaries to reduce psychological morbidity following discharge.
- Intensive care
- Intensive care unit diaries
- Postintensive care syndrome
- Posttraumatic stress disorder
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine