Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Depression, Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms May Impact Time in Hospital after Injury

The presence of depression and posttraumatic stress symptoms following a traumatic injury may lengthen a hospital stay, according to a report in General Hospital Psychiatry. The results highlight the importance of screening for symptoms of posttraumatic stress and depression upon admission to trauma units and longitudinal monitoring of patients who have experienced traumatic injuries.

“While not all who evidence elevated depression and PTSS [posttraumatic stress symptoms] will meet diagnosis for MDD or PTSD in the months following their injury, those with initially heightened symptoms may be identified as an at-risk group requiring follow-up care,” the study authors wrote.

For the study, a team of researchers from the University of North Texas assessed PTSS and depression symptoms in patients aged 18 or older who had been admitted to a trauma center for a period of at least 24 hours. Patient demographic information, hospitalization characteristics (including the number of complications and total hospital length of stay), and injury-related information (including the type and severity of injury and level of impaired consciousness) were obtained from the hospital trauma registry.

Of the 460 patients included in the analysis, 34.1% tested positive for depression, 31.3% tested positive for PTSS, and 18.3% tested positive for both depression and PTSS.

A comparison of hospital outcomes in patients who tested positive for depression and/or PTSS and those who did not revealed that PTSS and depression were significantly correlated with total hospital length of stay. Both depression-positive and PTSS-positive groups had an average increased hospital length of stay of two days—which the authors noted can add upward of $4,000 to $5,000 to the cost of post-trauma care.

“Being able to identify patients who present with these symptoms and are therefore at an increased risk of longer LOS [length of stay] may help health providers adjust care accordingly. Additionally, early identification may allow for the incorporation of appropriate interventions to increase psychiatric well-being, decrease LOS, and ultimately lead to better physical and mental health outcomes.”

For related information, see the Psychiatric News article “From Just Surviving, ICU Physicians Turn Focus to Survivorship.”

(Image: iStock/MJFelt)


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