Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Cindy L. Munro, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

John M. Clochesy, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kevin E. Kip, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Zhan Liang, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Carmen S. Rodriguez, Ph.D.


anxiety, critical care, sleep, depression, family, grief, stress


Post Intensive Care Syndrome-Family (PICS-F) refers to acute and chronic psychological effects of critical illness on family members of patients in intensive care units (ICU). Evidence about the increase and persistence of PICS-F warrants the need for prevention interventions. This study evaluated the feasibility of providing Sensation Awareness Focused Training (SĀF-T) during the ICU stay for spouses of mechanically ventilated patients. Methods: A randomized controlled trial of SĀF-T versus a control group was conducted (n=10) to assess safety, acceptability, feasibility, and effect size of the intervention on PICS-F symptoms. Symptoms assessed as outcome measures included stress, anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and sleep efficiency. Those randomly assigned to SĀF-T received one session daily over 3-days in the ICU. Repeated measures (day 1, day 3, day 30, and day 90) of PICS-F symptoms in both groups were analyzed. Results: Mean age was 58 ± 12 years; 70% were female. Feasibility success criteria were met in weekly recruitment (8 ± 3.5), enrollment rate (67%), SĀF-T acceptability (100% of doses received, no adverse events) with significantly lower post SĀF-T stress levels (p<.05) compared to pre SĀF-T stress levels, ActiWatch acceptability rate (90% agreed to wear, no adverse events) with no significant difference in sleep efficiency between groups (p>.05), and repeated measures completion rate (>90%). Conclusions: This study provided guidance for modifications to protocol outcome measures and evidence of a large effect size, which will inform a larger clinical trial to assess the effectiveness of the SĀF-T intervention in reducing PICS-F.