A Survey of Psychology Practice in Critical-Care Settings

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Purpose/Objective: The aims of this survey study were to (a) examine the frequency of health-service psychology involvement in intensive and critical-care settings; (b) characterize the distinguishing features of these providers; and (c) examine unique or distinguishing features of the hospital setting in which these providers are offering services. Research Method/Design: χ2 analyses were conducted for group comparisons of health-service psychologists: (a) providing services in critical care versus those with no or limited critical care activity and (b) involved in both critical care and rehabilitation versus those only involved in critical care. Results: A total of 175 surveys met inclusion criteria and were included in the analyses. Psychologists who worked in critical-care settings at least monthly were more likely to be at a Level-1, χ2(1, N = 157) = 9.654, p = .002, or pediatric, χ2(1, N = 158) = 7.081, p = .008, trauma center. Psychologists involved with critical care were more likely to provide services on general medical–surgical units, χ2(1, N = 167) = 45.679, p = .000. A higher proportion of rehabilitation-oriented providers provided intensive care, critical care, and neurointensive care services relative to nonrehabilitation providers. Conclusion/Implications: The findings indicate that health-service psychologists are involved in critical-care settings and in various roles. A more broad-based survey of hospitals across the United States would be required to identify how frequently health-service psychologists are consulted and what specific services are most effective, valued, or desired in critical-care settings.

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