Background: When families suffer critical illnesses, not only the health of family members is affected, but more importantly, the family’s ability to function properly is impacted. The solution to such problems is to investigate the family’s response to stress as well as factors affecting their ability to master stress.
Objectives: This research aims to investigate the accumulated ability of families to master stress and PTSD during the critical-care transition period.
Methods: In order to achieve prospective and long-term traceability of the research, participants were recruited from a group of families of critically ill patients from admission to discharge from ICU after 6 months. We measured the families’ anxiety and acute stress, as well as their ability to manage stress. Data were collected from a northern medical centre’s neurosurgery and burn department through structured surveys and voluntary interviews with family members. A total of 42 sets of survey results were collected from the 4 different time periods (Time 1 - Time 4).
Results: From the perspective of baseline-tracking model analysis, there is a significant correlation between the mastery of stress at Time 1 and the acute-stress at Time 2 and Time 3. Similarly, there is also a significant correlation between the mastery of stress at Time 1 and HADS at Time 3 and Time 4. This indicated that when young adult patients are admitted into ICU, the immediate increase in family function and mastery of stress will significantly affect the emotions and stress response of family members 3 & 6 months later. The accumulated effect on mastery of stress at two different time slots has a negative correlation with ASD of Time 3 & HADS of Time 4. This shows that maintaining good family function and mastery of stress, can improve the emotions and stress response of critically ill patients.
Conclusions: This research shows that as mastery of stress improves, it can lower the after-effects of trauma. Results show that a families’ good mastery of stress can improve the adaptation of family members.