Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Unpleasant Memories From Intensive Care

Date:
September 30, 2006
Source:
Swedish Research Council
Summary:
"Being cared for in an intensive care unit (ICU) can never be an especially positive experience. But at any rate it should not mean that the care improves the patient's physical condition only to leave him or her with severe mental problems!" This is what Karin Samuelson feels. She is a nurse and researcher at Lund University in Sweden. She has studied patients' memories, experiences, and psychological problems after their care period.

"Being cared for in an intensive care unit (ICU) can never be an especially positive experience. But at any rate it should not mean that the care improves the patient's physical condition only to leave him or her with severe mental problems!" This is what Karin Samuelson feels. She is a nurse and researcher at Lund University in Sweden. She has studied patients' memories, experiences, and psychological problems after their care period.

Related Articles


Intensivecare often involves treatment in a respirator, with the air being supplied either via a tube in the nose or mouth or via a cannula through the throat.To alleviate the discomfort of the treatment, patients are given sedatives or drugs to induce sleep.

In the past powerful sedatives were used, rendering the patient more or less unconscious. But this can lead to complications in the form of mucus accumulation, pneumonia, muscle atrophy, and prolonged respirator dependency.What's more such treatment is expensive. Therefore most wards have switched to lighter sedation, which is easier on the body.

However, the effects on the mental well-being of the patient have never been studied. This is what Karin Samuelson has now done in her doctoral dissertation, which she will defend September 22. She interviewed 250 patients five days after their release from the ICU and again two months later.

The results were hardly encouraging. Most of the patients had memories of their time in intensive care, despite the sedation, and more than half of them remembered at least one event that was extremely stressful. These stressful experiences included discomfort from the breathing tube and not being able to speak. One third of the patients also had delusional memories such as nightmares and hallucinations.

Two months after their discharge there was still a high degree of symptoms of anxiety in 5 percent of the patients, of depression in 8 percent, and of post-traumatic stress in 8 percent.

"The risk of remembering nightmares and hallucinations was more closely related to the length of the stay in intensive care than to the depth of sedation. On the other hand, the risk of remembering the experiences as bothering were associated with the depth of sedation: patients more awake experienced memories as more stressful. We must therefore focus on patients' subjective perceptions and get better at dealing with the psychological problems that critical illness and intensive care can lead to," says Karin Samuelson.

Among other things, this requires better following up of ICU patients. The Lund University Hospital staff has started to visit patients at the general wards a few days after ICU discharge and also to invite them back for a visit after two months. In this way it is hoped that they will be able to single out patients who have been the most seriously affected by their critical illness and their stay in the ICU and see to it that their experience there does not led to persistent mental disorders such as depression and post-traumatic stress.

Her dissertation is titled Sedation During Mechanical Ventilation in Intensive Care -- sedation practices and patients' memory, stressful experiences and psychological distress.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Swedish Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Swedish Research Council. "Unpleasant Memories From Intensive Care." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 September 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060925083003.htm>.
Swedish Research Council. (2006, September 30). Unpleasant Memories From Intensive Care. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060925083003.htm
Swedish Research Council. "Unpleasant Memories From Intensive Care." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060925083003.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins