Opportunities - Co-creating a person-centered strategy to manage psychological distress in critically ill patients

Co-creating a person-centered strategy to manage psychological distress in critically ill patients
University of Alberta, Faculty of Nursing

When people are admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), they often face extreme stress and a whirlwind of negative emotions, such as fear, anxiety and a sense of isolation. This emotional turmoil can hinder recovery and impact their quality of life even after leaving the ICU. While medical professionals have made strides in addressing the physical and environmental discomforts of ICU, there is a deeper layer of emotional and psychological distress – like the fear of death, feelings of hopelessness, and a sense of losing one’s identity – that remains challenging to address. There is a noticeable gap in care practices that specifically aim to soothe these intense emotions.

To address this, we aim to collaborate with those directly involved, ICU patients, their families, healthcare workers, and policy makers to develop a care strategy that’s centered around the patient’s personal experiences and needs. We will use a research approach that encourages all participants to work together, sharing their experiences and insights. Through interviews and group discussions, we will delve into the experiences of stress in ICU, identifying where current care practices might be falling short, and brainstorming potential solutions.

Our ultimate goal is to revolutionize the way care is provided in the ICU by shining a light on patients’ perspectives and co-developing a strategy to reduce stress. By focusing on these emotional and psychological aspects, we can alleviate mental health symptoms and significantly enhance the ICU experience, leading to better outcomes for patients and their families during and after critical illness.

Roles and Responsibilities
We are currently at the phase of research grant writing. We would like to collaborate with patient partners, with lived experience of the ICU,  as co-investigators or as co-applicants on this proposal. Patient partners will ensure that we capture a diversity of in-depth perspectives and experiences and that we ground the co-created strategy on the real-world experience of critical care.

Patient partners can advise on all aspects of the study, including interview guides, methods of participant engagement, facilitation of focus groups and/or one-on-one interviews, interpretation of results, co-development of the care strategy and dissemination of results. Patient partners will be invited to collaborate in the aspects they are interested in and as they are available. If funded, patient partners will be offered compensation as per CIHR guidelines.

Time Commitment
If the study is funded, it will continue for 3-4 years (September 2024 – May 2028). Patient partners should expect meetings every two months, virtually or in-person according to their preference, and requests for feedback on documents, according to their interest and availability.

If funded, compensation will be offered as per CIHR Institute of Genetics guidelines ($40/hour). https://cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/53261.html

Study related expenses will be reimbursed.

For more information or to apply
Elisavet Papathanassoglou


Usha Pant