Trauma Does Not Predict Patients’ Experiences With Constant Observation

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Objective:Little is known about which patient factors are associated with a positive or negative experience of constant observation (CO) in a general hospital or emergency department. We hypothesized that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) would predict a more negative experience with CO.Methods:A survey regarding the positive and negative aspects of being observed by a staff member was administered to 83 patients who were admitted to an inpatient psychiatric unit after experiencing CO; 55 of these patients had a history of trauma and 13 were diagnosed with PTSD. A total score reflecting the overall positive or negative experience of CO was calculated for each survey response. The survey also included 4 follow-up questions regarding the importance of individual observer characteristics (eg, sex), which were scored individually along a Likert scale.Results:Neither PTSD, trauma history, nor any other participant characteristic was associated with either a positive or negative overall experience with CO. Female participants were more likely than males to consider the sex and age of their staff observers to be important.Conclusions:Neither PTSD nor trauma history predicts a negative or positive experience with CO. A predictive model regarding which patients are likely to experience CO positively or negatively remains to be established.

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