Lack of family visitation in the ICU can have long-term consequences on patients in the ICU after discharge. The effect of family visitation on the incidence of patient psychiatric disorders is unknown.
What is the association between family visitation in the ICU and incidence of psychiatric outcomes in patients in the ICU 1 year after hospital discharge?
This study assessed a population-based retrospective cohort of adult patients admitted to the ICU from January 1, 2014, through May 30, 2017, surviving to hospital discharge with ICU length of stay of ≥ 3 days. To be eligible, patients needed to have minimum of 5 years of administrative data before ICU admission and a minimum of 1 year of follow-up data after hospital discharge. An internally validated algorithm that interpreted natural language in health records determined patients with or without in-person family (ie, relatives, friends) visitation during ICU stay. The primary outcome was risk of an incidence of psychiatric disorder (composite outcome), including anxiety, depressive, trauma- and stressor-related, psychotic, and substance use disorders, identified using coding algorithms for administrative databases. Propensity scores were used in inverse probability weighted logistic regression models, and average treatment effects were converted to risk ratios (RRs) with 95% CIs. Secondary outcomes were incidences of diagnoses by type of psychiatric disorder.
We included 14,344 patients with (96% [n = 13,771]) and without (4.0% [n = 573]) in-person family visitation who survived hospital discharge. More than one-third of patients received a diagnosis of any psychiatric disorder within 1 year after discharge (34.9%; 95% CI, 34.1%-35.6%). Patients most often received diagnoses of anxiety disorders (17.5%; 95% CI, 16.9%-18.1%) and depressive disorders (17.2%; 95% CI, 16.6%-17.9%). After inverse probability weighting of 13,731 patients, in-person family visitation was associated with a lower risk of received a diagnosis of any incident psychiatric disorder within 1 year after discharge (RR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.68-0.92).
ICU family visitation is associated with a decreased risk of psychiatric disorders in critically ill patients up to 1 year after hospital discharge.

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