Post-traumatic stress disorder among ICU healthcare professionals before and after the Covid-19 health crisis: a narrative review

Annals of intensive care(2023)

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Background The ICU (intensive care unit) involves potentially traumatic work for the professionals who work there. This narrative review seeks to identify the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among ICU professionals; how PTSD has been assessed; the risk factors associated with PTSD; and the psychological support proposed. Methods Three databases and editorial portals were used to identify full-text articles published in English between 2009 and 2022 using the PRISMA method. Results Among the 914 articles obtained, 19 studies met our inclusion criteria. These were undertaken primarily during the Covid-19 period ( n = 12) and focused on nurses and assistant nurses ( n = 10); nurses and physicians ( n = 8); or physicians only ( n = 1). The presence of mild to severe PTSD among professionals ranged from 3.3 to 24% before the pandemic, to 16–73.3% after the pandemic. PTSD in ICU professionals seems specific with particularly intense intrusion symptoms. ICU professionals are confronted risk factors for PTSD: confrontation with death, unpredictability and uncertainty of care, and insecurity related to the crisis COVID-19. The studies show that improved communication, feeling protected and supported within the service, and having sufficient human and material resources seem to protect healthcare professionals from PTSD. However, they also reveal that ICU professionals find it difficult to ask for help. Conclusion ICU professionals are particularly at risk of developing PTSD, especially since the Covid-19 health crisis. There seems to be an urgent need to develop prevention and support policies for professionals.
Narrative review,PTSD,Intensive care unit (ICU),Healthcare professionals,Covid-19
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