New measure may identify children traumatized by ICU stay

September 8, 2008

Spending time in the intensive care unit (ICU) can be a traumatizing experience for children, and a new scale may prove to be a valid measure of this effect, according to a study published in the Journal of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine.

Spending time in the intensive care unit (ICU) can be a traumatizing experience for children, and a new scale may prove to be a valid measure of this effect, according to a study published in the Journal of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine.

For the study, researchers developed the Children's Critical Illness Impact Scale (CCIIS) developed by Dr. Janet Rennick, of the Research Institute of The Montreal Children's Hospital of the McGill University Health Center, and colleagues. The CCIIS is a 23-item questionnaire and is meant for use as a measure of post-ICU hospitalization distress for children ages 6 to 12 years.

Phase 1 of the study Phase involved 18 children, 22 parents, and 12 healthcare professionals, while Phase 2 included eight children and four healthcare professionals. The researchers found that the CCIIS was easily understood, and the scaling format worked well. Older children preferred written items, while younger children would need to use a modified, picture-based version of the scale.

"Valid, accessible, and developmentally appropriate measures are essential to identify high-risk children and, ultimately, promote healthy growth and development," the researchers concluded. "The CCIIS is a new self-report measure with demonstrated content validity and specific relevance for young school-aged children following pediatric ICU hospitalization."1

Reference1. Rennick JE, McHarg LF, Dell'Api M, et al: Developing the Children's Critical Illness Impact Scale: capturing stories from children, parents, and staff. Pediatr Crit Care Med, May 2008:3;252