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The Impact of Trauma on Caregivers of ICU Patients

In This Video

  • Seeing a loved one admitted into the ICU can lead to emotional trauma for the patient's loved ones, which can increase the risk for diseases such as heart attack or stroke
  • Dr. Jonathan Rosand believes that is critical to provide care for the patient's loved ones
  • Currently, a multidisciplinary team at the Neuroscience ICU has developed a clinical trial to assess intervention strategies to anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress in patients and caregivers
  • The team is also investigating whether or not mindfulness and meditation training can reduce psychological complications

Jonathan Rosand, MD, co-director of Mass General Neuroscience, discusses why it is critical to provide care for a patient's loved ones along with the patient. Currently, a multidisciplinary team at the Neuroscience ICU has developed a clinical trial to assess intervention strategies to anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress in patients and caregivers. His research is investigating whether or not mindfulness and meditation training can reduce psychological complications.

Transcript

When an individual suffers an injury bad enough to admit him or her to an ICU, the whole circle of the family suffers. That trauma, that emotional trauma can lead to depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, at remarkable rates in the patient's loved ones. What happens when you develop anxiety or depression or post-traumatic stress, is that in turn you become at risk for medical diseases like heart attack or stroke.

So we treat our caregivers now as individuals at risk for complications from the trauma of seeing their loved ones admitted to the ICU and the trauma of going through the ICU course with their loved ones.

We have a multidisciplinary team in our neuro ICU, made up of intensivists, neurologists, psychologists, nurses, social workers, who have developed a clinical trial that is a randomized approach to measuring the benefits of a skills building intervention and behavioral techniques, that we're administering to families and patients together, in order to determine whether these interventions will prevent these high rates of anxiety, post-traumatic stress and depression in our patients and caregivers.

Alongside these clinical trials, we are also investigating whether or not mindfulness training, meditation training can be a benefit in reducing rates of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress in both patients and caregivers. Our goal is to understand not only what helps, but how this helps, by measuring the responses in the blood to these interventions, so that we can begin to understand what the biology is behind these responses to the trauma of an ICU admission.

As we begin to understand this biology, we'll begin to develop better and better treatments that are preventative, so that the patients as they recover, not only will recover more quickly, or will recover with fewer of these psychological complications, but, their family members too, will also avoid developing these psychological complications. And what we know is that when there are fewer of these complications, that health for both the patient and the caregiver is better in the long term.

Learn more about the Henry and Allison McCance Center for Brain Health

Learn more about neurocritical care at Mass General

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