Rates and predictors of mental health care utilisation in patients following a prolonged stay on intensive care unit: a prospective cohort study

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OBJECTIVES: An acute critical illness and secondary complications may necessitate a prolonged treatment on an intensive care unit (ICU). As long-term consequences, ICU survivors may suffer from both physical and psychological sequelae. To improve the aftercare of these patients, the present study aimed to assess the use of mental healthcare and associated factors following prolonged ICU stay.

METHODS: N=197 patients with a primary diagnosis of critical illness polyneuropathy/myopathy were enrolled within 4 weeks (T1) and interviewed three (T2) and six (T3) months following the transfer from acute-care to postacute ICU. Symptoms and a current diagnosis of major depression/post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were assessed using the Structured Clinical Interview for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The potential need for mental healthcare, its current and past use and reasons for non-use were raised.

RESULTS: Full syndromal and subsyndromal major depression/PTSD were diagnosed in 8.3%/15.6% at T2, 12.2%/23.5% at T3. About 29% of the patients reported mental healthcare utilisation. Considering somatic complaints, more important was a common reason for the non-use of mental healthcare. Female gender, previous mental healthcare, number of sepsis episodes and pension receipt increased the chance for mental healthcare utilisation, a pre-existing mental disorder decreased it.

CONCLUSION: Every fourth patient surviving prolonged ICU treatement makes use of mental healthcare . Particularly male patients with pre-existing mental disorders should be targeted preventively, receiving specific psychoeducation about psychological long-term sequelae and mental healthcare options post-ICU.Trial registration numberDRKS00003386.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere063468
Pages (from-to)e063468
JournalBMJ open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2023

External IDs

PubMedCentral PMC9884925
Scopus 85147037395


Sustainable Development Goals


  • Humans, Male, Female, Prospective Studies, Intensive Care Units, Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/epidemiology, Anxiety/psychology, Patient Acceptance of Health Care, Critical Illness/psychology, Quality of Life