At the end of last year, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and University of California, San Francisco released a study that shows that these individuals can experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder up to six months after their family member’s stay in the ICU.
“Our findings suggest that family members of patients in the intensive care unit are at risk for serious psychological disorders that may require treatment,” said Cindy L. Bryce, Ph.D., from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “Unfortunately, it may be difficult to identify these family members while their loved one is in the hospital because the symptoms that we can observe and measure early – anxiety and depression – do not seem to be associated with the longer term outcomes like post-traumatic stress disorder and complicated grief. This tells us that screening family members after hospitalization is crucial.”
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