Psychiatry’s role in the prevention of post-intensive care mental health impairment: stakeholder survey

Ewa D. Bieber, Kemuel L. Philbrick, Jenna B. Shapiro, Lioudmila V. Karnatovskaia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Many critical illness survivors experience new or worsening mental health impairments. Psychiatry consultation services can provide a critical role in identifying, addressing, and preventing mental health challenges during and after admission to the acute medical care setting. However, psychiatry involvement in the ICU setting is lower than in other hospital settings and the conventional process in many hospitals requires other care providers to request consultation by psychiatry. Despite these differences, no studies have sought ICU provider perspectives on psychiatry consultation’s current and desired role. We aimed to obtain stakeholder feedback on psychiatry’s current and desired roles in the ICU, and potential benefits and drawbacks of increasing psychiatry’s presence. Methods: A web-based survey obtained perspectives from 373 critical care physicians and advance practice providers, bedside nurses, physical and occupational therapists, pharmacists, and consultation-liaison psychiatry physicians and advance practice providers at a tertiary care center using multiple choice and open-ended questions. Descriptive information and content analysis of qualitative data provided information on stakeholder perspectives. Results: Psychiatry’s primary current role was seen as assistance with management of mental health issues (38%) and suicide risk assessments (23%). 46% wished for psychiatry’s increased involvement in the ICU. Perceived benefits of increased psychiatry presence in the ICU included early psychological support in parallel with medical care, identification of psychiatric factors impacting treatment, and facilitation of family understanding of the patient’s mental state/delirium. An additional perceived benefit included reduction in provider burnout through processing difficult situations and decreasing family psychological distress. However, one concern included potential conflict among providers regarding treatment. Conclusions: Those who work closely with the critically ill patients think that increased psychological support in the ICU would be beneficial. By contrast, psychiatry’s current involvement is seen to be limited, perhaps driven by varying perceptions of what psychiatry’s role is or should be.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number198
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Critical illness
  • Depression
  • Mental health
  • Patient safety
  • Post-traumatic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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