Addressing Traumatic Stress in the Acute Traumatically Injured Patient
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
Journal of Trauma Nursing
Psychological injuries after an acute traumatic event are commonly overlooked. Currently within United States, there is no consistently utilized screening process that addresses traumatic stress within the acute trauma population. Roy's Adaptation Model guided this project, focusing on the idea that bedside nurses are at the frontline of providing early identification through nursing assessment. The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate whether the implementation of the Primary Care-Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PC-PTSD) screening tool by bedside nurses would result in identifying more patients at risk for traumatic stress after an acute trauma as compared with the use of no screening method. This descriptive survey study took place over a 6-week period at a Midwest Level 1 trauma hospital. The results revealed that the tool did not increase the number of health psychology consults when compared with the same 6-week period a year prior when no tool was used. Nonetheless, use of the PC-PTSD tool did trigger 28% of the patients to receive a health psychology consult. Forty-five percent of patients who received a health psychology consult were recommended outpatient therapy. Utilization of this tool by bedside nurses did not adversely increase a number of inappropriate health psychology consults. These results agree with the literature and further suggest that there are a clinically significant number of acute trauma patients who are at risk for traumatic stress. With this screening tool, nurses accurately assessed patients and connected them with timely psychological treatment.