Caregiver strain following critical care discharge: an exploratory evaluation

Joanne McPeake, Helen Devine, Pamela MacTavish, Leanne Fleming, Rebecca Crawford, Ruth Struthers, John Kinsella, Malcolm Daniel, Martin Shaw, Tara Quasim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Objective The objective of this exploratory evaluation was to understand the impact of critical care survivorship on caregivers. Design Family members who attended a quality improvement initiative within our critical care unit were asked to complete 4 questionnaires. Setting The setting for this study was a 20-bedded mixed critical care unit in a large teaching hospital in Scotland. Data were collected as a part of an evaluation of a quality improvement initiative. Participants Thirty-six carers completed the questionnaire set. Measurements and main results A total of 53% of caregivers suffered significant strain. Poor quality of life in the patient was significantly associated with higher caregiver strain (P= .006). Anxiety was present in 69% of caregivers. Depression was present in 56% of caregivers, with a significant association between carer strain and depression (P< .001). Those caregivers who were defined as being strained also had significantly higher Insomnia Severity Index scores than those without carers strain (P= .007). Conclusion This evaluation has demonstrated that there is a significant burden for caregivers of critical care survivors. Furthermore, they reported high levels of posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Future work on rehabilitation from critical care should focus on the inclusion of caregivers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-184
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Critical Care
Early online date4 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • caregivers
  • family members
  • intensive care
  • quality of life


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