“We always keep the Post-ICU diary in our top drawer. It’s been 2 years since my admission to the ICU, and we still browse through it regularly. I think it’s wonderful what the nurses wrote. It still brings tears to my eyes.”
– Hans Maas
ICU survivor & user of Post-ICU
Being admitted into an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is a traumatic experience for the patient as well as their family. During the turbulent and emotional time of admission, keeping a diary brings solace, and it will help both patient and family to recover better and faster after discharge.
More than 80% of ICU admissions cause somatic symptoms (such as pain or fatigue). These symptoms increase the chances of readmission, needing long-term care, and a lower quality of life. It can even lead to psychological problems, such as PTSD, for 10-50% of all patients.
Keeping a diary during the stay is the only scientifically proven method to reduce the risk of developing these symptoms and problems, which are known as Post-Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS, or PICS-F for family members) in the medical world.
With Post-ICU, families are more involved in the ICU care of their loved one. Healthcare professionals will join in writing regularly, ensuring family has the latest updates on a patient. Journaling in Post-ICU helps to keep track of everything.
Everything that is written in the digital diary will help the patient immensely after the ICU admission. A patient often remembers only scraps, if anything at all, of their time in the ICU. Every word written down, every photo uploaded, will help a patient to recover and mitigate Post-Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS) symptoms.
Healthcare workers report higher satisfaction and engagement ratings when using the Post-ICU diary. They gain a better understanding of the patient, communicate more effectively with the family, and feel more rewarded for the work they do.
Engaging families in care is crucial for the patient’s well being and recovery. It is part of the ICU Liberation guidelines created by the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM).
Yes. Many studies have shown that keeping a diary will significantly decrease PICS-related symptoms. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean keeping a diary will (completely) prevent PICS 100% of the time. This is due to PICS being a complex syndrome with many factors influencing the possible outcome.
Studies have found that at least 25-50% of ICU-patients will develop PICS, and up to 30% of their family members will develop PICS-F.
The general rule of thumb is: writing down something is always better than nothing. Try not to think too much about it. Simply writing about your own thoughts and feelings can be very helpful for you and the patient in the long run. And if someday you feel really stuck, you can find a number of writing suggestions within the Post-ICU diary to help you.
Yes. The legal representative of a patient has control over who can upload photos in Post-ICU: nobody, themselves, professional caregivers, and/or other contributors to the diary. It is encouraged to add photos to Post-ICU because photos can speak a thousand words and can be very beneficial in the recovery process. Having photos in the diary from multiple perspectives (nurses, family, friends) can help the patient reconstruct their ICU admission when they wake up.
Post-ICU can be used on any device that has an internet connection. This could be a smartphone, desktop computer, laptop, or tablet.
Post-ICU is completely free to use for patients and family members. The digital diary is provided as a service by the hospital.
When the patient is awake, they decide what they want to do with the diary that has been kept for them. Post-ICU offers an option for the patient to delete their diary and all its entries if they want to.