Identification and referral of patients at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder: A literature review and retrospective analysis

Aaron Bolduc, Brice Hwang, Christopher Hogan, Varun K. Bhalla, Elizabeth Nesmith, Regina Medeiros, Cassie Alexander, Steven B. Holsten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a well-established psychological disorder after severe traumatic injury but remains poorly recognized. Recent changes in the "Resources for Optimal Care of the Injured Trauma Patient 2014" stress the need for comprehensive screening and referral for PTSD and depression after injury. Our purpose was to review the current PTSD literature and perform a retrospective chart review to evaluate screening at our institution. We hypothesized a lack of documentation and thus referral of these patients to mental health professionals. We performed a literature review of 43 publications of risk factors for PTSD in the civilian adult population followed by a retrospective review. Records were analyzed for basic demographics, risk factors found in the literature, and referrals to mental health providers. Risk factors included amputation, dissociative symptoms, female gender, history of mental health disorder, and peritraumatic emotionality. Traumatic amputation status and gender were recorded in all patients. History of mental health disorder was present in 11.5 per cent patients, absent in 80.75 per cent, and not recorded in 7.75 per cent with an overall documentation of 91.75 per cent. Dissociative symptoms and peri-traumatic emotionality were recorded in 0.5 per cent and 1.0 per cent of patients, respectively. Only 13 patients of 400 (3.25%) were referred to mental health professionals. Despite extensive evidence and literature supporting risk factors for the development of PTSD, identification and treatment at our level 1 trauma center is lacking. There is a need for consistent screening among trauma centers to identify PTSD risk factors and protocols for risk reduction and referrals for patients at risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)904-908
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Volume81
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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