Can Burn Patients Have PTSD? | Loyola Medicine
Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Loyola Medicine Survey Finds 16 Percent of Burn Patients Experience PTSD

 
MAYWOOD, IL –  A Loyola Medicine survey has found that 15.8 percent of adult burn patients screened positive for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
 
The survey by clinical psychologist Elizabeth Simmons, PsyD, licensed clinical social worker Kelly McElligott, AM, and colleagues from Loyola Medicine's Burn Center was presented at the annual meeting of the American Burn Association, where it was named the top poster in the psychosocial category of the poster session.
 
"We identified a significant group of patients with elevated symptoms of PTSD who may benefit from further mental health assessment and intervention," Dr. Simmons said.
 
Loyola operates the largest burn center in Illinois and is a regional leader in burn care. Loyola's outstanding success rates and multidisciplinary approach are recognized by the American College of Surgeons and American Burn Association.
 
Burn injuries often are very traumatic and can lead to mental health disorders, especially acute stress disorder (ASD) and PTSD. Identifying patients who need further support and mental health treatment are important elements of providing comprehensive, multidisciplinary care.
 
PTSD is triggered by seeing or experiencing a terrifying event. Symptoms can include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
In the Loyola survey, a four-question PTSD screening test was administered to 1,020 burn patients in an outpatient clinic. Patients were asked if they had ever had an experience that was so frightening, horrible or upsetting that in the past month they:
  • Had nightmares about it or thought about it when they did not want to
  • Tried hard not to think about it or went out of their way to avoid situations that reminded them of it
  • Were constantly on guard, watchful or easily startled
  • Felt numb or detached from others, activities or their surroundings
Patients who answered "Yes" to three or four of the questions tested positive for PTSD. A positive result does not necessarily mean a patient has PTSD. But it does indicate a patient may have the condition or other trauma-related problems and may need to be evaluated by a mental health professional.
 
The screening test provided an opportunity to alert medical providers to distressing symptoms. A social worker also was notified and provided patient resources for additional support for those who screened positive.
 
The survey is titled, "Screening for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – Four Simple Questions Yield Big Results."
 
In addition to Dr. Simmons and Ms. McElligott, other Loyola co-authors include Sandra Dominguez, RN, assistant manager of Loyola's burn intensive care unit; burn surgeon Arthur Sanford, MD; and Anthony Baldea, MD, medical director of the burn ICU.
 

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 94 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 133,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.