On average 1 in 10 patients who stay more than two days in intensive care will develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The fragmentary nature of people's memories, which might include isolated moments of clarity between delusions and hallucinations make it difficult for patients to remember what happened to them and make them more likely to develop PTSD. Researchers from the University of Liverpool have been studying the effectiveness of diaries in reducing PTSD. The diaries are compiled by staff and close relatives and feature information about a patient's stay in intensive care, accompanied by photographs. The researchers studied 352 patients from 12 hospitals in six different European countries. 162 of them had the diaries kept for them and these people were found to have half the risk of developing PTSD. The diaries were time consuming for the staff involved but the researchers pointed out that given the cost of treating PTSD this was still cost effective.
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