Title

“Releasing a Lot of Poisons from My Mind”: Patients' Delusional Memories of Intensive Care

Document Type

Article

Language

eng

Format of Original

5 p.

Publication Date

9-2014

Publisher

Elsevier

Source Publication

Heart & Lung

Source ISSN

0147-9563

Original Item ID

doi: 10.1016/j.hrtlng.2014.04.007

Abstract

Objectives

To describe intensive care unit (ICU) patients' delusional memories and interpretations of those memories.

Background

Delusional memories of the ICU are distressing for patients and may impact psychological recovery.

Methods

This is a secondary analysis from a study of mechanically ventilated patients' recall in relation to sedation. Subjects, recruited from one medical-surgical ICU, participated in structured interviews after extubation.

Results

Subjects (n = 35) with a mean age of 66 (SD 12.9) and on the ventilator a median of 4.5 days provided detailed descriptions of delusional memories of being shackled, caged, strangled, or being in a foreign country. Delusions were very real and frightening in the moment. Subjects had difficulty connecting to reality to allow processing of the delusions.

Conclusions

Patients' delusional memories of ICU share common distressing themes. Assisting patients' to connect to real ICU events and process delusional memories may help with psychological recovery after critical illness.

Comments

Heart & Lung: The Journal of Acute and Critical Care, Vol. 43, No. 5 (September-October 2014): 427-431. DOI.

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