Aging and Postintensive Care Syndrome– Family: A Critical Need for Geriatric Psychiatry

Patricia Serrano, You Na P. Kheir, Sophia Wang, Sikandar Khan, Leslie Scheunemann, Babar Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Postintensive care syndrome–family (PICS-F) describes the psychological symptoms that affect the family members of patients hospitalized in the intensive care unit (ICU) or recently discharged from the ICU. Geriatric psychiatrists should be concerned about PICS-F for several reasons. First, ICU hospitalization in older adults is associated with higher rates of cognitive and physical impairment compared with older adults hospitalized in non-ICU settings or dwelling in the community. This confers a special burden on the caregivers of these older ICU survivors compared with other geriatric populations. Second, as caregivers themselves age, caring for this unique burden can be more challenging compared with other geriatric populations. Third, evidence for models of care centered on patients with multimorbidity and their caregivers is limited. A deeper understanding of how to care for PICS and PICS-F may inform clinical practice for other geriatric populations with multimorbidity and their caregivers. Geriatric psychiatrists may play a key role in delivering coordinated care for PICS-F by facilitating timely diagnosis and interdisciplinary collaboration, advocating for the healthcare needs of family members suffering from PICS-F, and leading efforts within healthcare systems to increase awareness and treatment of PICS-F. This clinical review will appraise the current literature about the impact of critical illness on the family members of ICU survivors and identify crucial gaps in our knowledge about PICS-F among aging patients and caregivers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)446-454
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • caregiver stress
  • cognitive impairment
  • critical care illness
  • delirium
  • post–intensive care syndrome–family

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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