Objective: To study the physical and psychological stressors in the intensive care unit (ICU) and to correlate stressors with different demographic variables.
Design: Cross-sectional analytical survey.
Setting: Intensive care unit of a private hospital.
Patients and participants: 50 randomly selected ICU patients during the first week of their ICU stay.
Measurements and results: The Intensive Care Unit Environmental Stressor Scale was administered to 50 patients. Pain and the impossibility of sleeping due to noise and having tubes in the nose and mouth were considered the most important physical stressors. Loss of self control and lack of understanding about the attitudes and procedures were the main psychological stressors.
Conclusions: Interventions should be aimed at relieving the patient's pain and at controlling the level of noise to make sleep possible. From the psychological standpoint, the independence of the patient should be encouraged, thus stimulating the recovery of self-control. The team should also inform the patient about the procedures which will be carried out.