Experiences of COVID-ICU-survivors: mixed-methods study of psychological consequences by written survey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: In the coming years, mental health care may come into contact with patients who developed psychological complaints related to their critical illness and stay in the intensive care unit (ICU) as a result of COVID-19. However, the experiences of these patients are to date rarely documented.

AIM: Gaining insight into the experiences of COVID-ICU-survivors. METHODS 19 COVID-ICU survivors answered a written survey four months after admission. Screening lists measured psychological complaints and sleeping disorders. Visual analogue scales (VAS) measured the influence of the pandemic context and the quality of life. A written survey mapped patient experiences. Quantitative data were analyzed descriptively and qualitative data by means of thematic analysis.

RESULTS: 50% of the participants experienced psychological complaints or sleeping disorders. A limited social network and media coverage of COVID-19 complicated the recovery process of patients. 19% of the participants experienced a reduced quality of life. A weak social network caused feelings of hopelessness. Still, patients showed great resilience.

CONCLUSION: Most COVID-ICU survivors are resilient enough to integrate their experiences into their lives, despite the challenges the pandemic context poses on their rehabilitation. It is therefore important not to overmedicalise psychological complaints that occur during rehabilitation. Our attention needs to be directed to those with a weak social network.

Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)324-330
Number of pages7
JournalTijdschrift voor Psychiatrie
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


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