Croxall, Clare, Tyas, Moira and Garside, Joanne (2014) Sedation and its Psychological Effects Following Intensive Care: a Review of the Literature. British journal of nursing, 23 (14). pp. 800-804. ISSN 0966-0461

Significant psychological impacts, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), have been associated with a patients’ under sedation in Intensive Care Units (ICU). It however remains undefined if and how sedation is related to post-ICU psychological outcomes. This literature review explores the relationships between sedation, the depth of sedation and psychological disorders. A review of existing literature was undertaken systematically using key terms and included peer reviewed primary research and randomised controlled trials (RCT). To ensure subject relevance pre-2006, non-English and paediatric based research were excluded. Findings highlighted that reduced sedation levels did not significantly reduce the outcome of PTSD yet reduced ICU length of stay and length of mechanical ventilation (MV) were both associated with lighter sedation. Further research is recommended in terms of more specific factual and delusional memories post-ICU in comparison to the level of sedation administration and the relationship to psychological distress.

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