Objective: This research report examines the feasibility of identifying eligible trauma patients for a study providing an early therapeutic intervention for the prevention of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and identifies reasons around participation.
Methods: This prospective observational study used a convenience sample of acute trauma victims presenting to a university-affiliated Level One trauma center in a large southeastern city. Patients eligible to participate in the early intervention study were adults (18- 65) who experienced a traumatic event within 72 hours of presentation, feared that they might be killed or seriously injured during the event, and were able to return for follow up appointments. Patients were excluded if they were non-English speaking; experienced a loss of consciousness greater than 5 minutes; had a history of a serious mental illness or were currently suicidal; or endorsed current substance dependence. Descriptive statistics were conducted to determine differences in ineligible, eligible, and consenting trauma patients who enrolled in the intervention study.
Results: Over a six month period, n =1961 patients presented for treatment of a traumatic injury during study hours. Results showed that eligible patients were significantly younger than ineligible patients. Survivors of assaults (physical and sexual), younger patients, and women were generally more likely to participate in a study offering a psychological intervention in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event.
Conclusion: Fourteen percent of trauma patients were eligible and entered a study offering an early psychological intervention for the prevention of PTSD. Trauma type, age and gender may play a role in determining preference for receiving psychological services immediately after experiencing a traumatic event. [West J Emerg Med. 2010; 11(3): 275-279.]