Article

Prolonged grief disorder in the next of kin of adult patients who die during or after admission to intensive care.

LIntensive Care Department, Hospital Ntra. Sña. Del Prado, Talavera de la Reina, Ctra, Madrid Km116, 45600, Toledo, Spain. .
Chest (Impact Factor: 7.13). 06/2012; 141(6):1635-6. DOI: 10.1378/chest.11-3099
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose Many bereaved family members (FMs) of intensive care unit decedents experience symptoms of complicated grief (CG) or social distress, but there is no standard screening or follow-up for these individuals. We determined the desirability and need for an intensive care unit–based bereavement screening and support program for these FMs. Methods We surveyed bereaved FMs to measure symptoms of CG, prolonged grief disorder, and social difficulties and the desire for support; and staff physicians and nurses at 2 teaching hospitals in Toronto, Canada, to determine comfort and interest in providing routine bereavement support. Results We could not contact 69% of FMs largely because of inaccuracies in the patient record. Of the 64 who were contacted, 32 (50%) agreed to be surveyed a mean (SD) of 7.4 (2.2) months after the loss of their relative. Among eligible staff, 57 (61%) of 94 completed the questionnaire. Nine (28%) FMs met subthreshold criteria for CG or prolonged grief disorder, and 7 (22%) met criteria for social distress. Only 10 (31%) had received professional support for emotional symptoms, and 2 (6%) received professional assistance for their social difficulties. Fifty-eight percent supported routine screening, and 68% wanted to receive (or receive more) support. Fifty-five percent of FMs expressed a strong willingness to meet with the medical team to review events surrounding the death of the patient, which was the type of support that the health care staff were most comfortable providing. Most staff (85%) reported providing emotional support at the time of death, but few provided any support afterwards. Fifty-six (98%) of 57 would be willing to support or participate in a formal bereavement screening and support program. Respondents cited the need for training and dedicated time to carry out such a program. Conclusions An ICU-based bereavement screening and support program for FMs of ICU decedents is both needed and desirable, although there are important needs and barriers. Future studies should evaluate the effectiveness for such a program at improving outcomes among bereaved FMs.
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