June 11, 2014 – Diary Keeping
ANCHOR LEAD: CAN KEEPING A DIARY IN THE ICU HELP SURVIVORS MAKE SENSE OF THE EXPERIENCE? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD doesn’t just affect soldiers returning from battle, it also commonly afflicts people who’ve had a stay in an intensive care unit. Now an initiative undertaken by Joe Bienvenu and colleagues at Johns Hopkins, using diaries to chronicle events for individual patients, may help.
BIENVENU: In this context PTSD can appear a little differently than a soldier returning from Iraq or Afghanistan for example. They often have fear of ever getting sick again but they also have these horrible memories, sometimes of things that didn’t occur. Part of the treatment for PTSD is allowing people to process what actually happened, and an ICU diary can help people with putting the story together. :2
Both ICU staff and families can provide diary entries, giving family members one more way to help their loved one recover. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.