Provider's Perception of Parental Anxiety in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

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Aljabari S., BİRİŞÇİ E., Kummerfeld F.

CUREUS JOURNAL OF MEDICAL SCIENCE, vol.14, no.8, 2022 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 14 Issue: 8
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.7759/cureus.28589
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI)
  • Keywords: family support, family engagement, pediatric intensive care unit, parental anxiety, parental stress, CRITICAL ILLNESS, HEALTH-CARE, HOSPITALIZATION, STRESSORS, ADMISSION, ICU
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


Parents of critically ill children in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) commonly experience new or worsening anxiety, which can lead to long-term sequelae in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To investigate how well the PICU providers recognize and assess parental anxiety, we assessed the acute and baseline anxiety level of 30 parents in the PICU with the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and compared the results with the PICU physician's and nurses' assessments. All but four parents experienced higher acute anxiety scores compared to baseline, with a 34% increase in the number of parents with moderate and high anxiety scores. All PICU providers performed poorly in recognizing and assessing parental anxiety, with a tendency to underestimate the level of anxiety. Proper screening tools and strategies are essential to recognize and help parents in distress and potentially prevent long-term psychological sequelae.