The search for an innovative therapy to improve the cognitive and emotional state of critically ill patients begins

The search for an innovative therapy to improve the cognitive and emotional state of critically ill patients begins 1080 608 Mireia Córcoles
  • The I3PT and UIB research team will evaluate the effectiveness and safety of a technological tool that uses non-immersive virtual reality to prevent the cognitive and psychological sequelae of patients admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. This research is funded by La Marató 3CAT

Post Intensive Care Syndrome

The Intensive Care Units (ICU) they can become one area of ​​risk for some mentally vulnerable patients. Isolation from the family environment, the psychological impact related to admission, as well as certain medical procedures, among other factors, can increase the feelings of loneliness, frustration and fear of the critically ill patient and have an impact on their mental health. It is estimated that approximately half of the patients will suffer cognitive, psychological and physical sequelae upon discharge from the ICU, known as the Post Intensive Care Syndrome.

Concentration and memory problems, depressive or anxiety disorders and muscle weakness are some of the manifestations that patients with this syndrome can experience, and which can persist for up to five years after hospital discharge.

Likewise, this syndrome can also affect the mental health of the family environment of the patients who suffer from it, both due to the high emotional demand and the high social, medical and economic costs it entails.

An innovative technological tool

Although work has been done on multiple interventions to mitigate the impact of these sequelae, the strategies focused on prevention are still scarce, and delaying the start of treatment at hospital discharge, in cases where it can be carried out, increases the risk of chronicity.

with the aim ofincrease patient well-being during ICU admission and prevent cognitive and psychological deficits after discharge, team from the Parc Taulí Research and Innovation Institute (I3PT) has designed an innovative e-health neuropsychological therapy based on non-immersive virtual reality techniques developed specifically to adapt to the needs of the critical patient and the ICU environment.

Specifically, a clinical trial in a group of critically ill patients to test the effectiveness and safety of this technological tool based on gamification and which will be administered in addition to standard medical treatment during admission to the ICU. The response to this therapy will be analyzed by comparing the group of patients receiving early cognitive stimulation and psychological support with a second group to which only standard medical treatment will be applied, assessing whether an improvement in well-being is observed, cognitive performance and emotional state.

The principal investigator of the project, Guillem Navarre, assistant professor doctor of the Department of Medicine of the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB) linked to research group on high prevalence mental disorders led by Margalida Gili i Michael Rock, explained that "the hypothesis is that patients who receive complementary e-health neuropsychological therapy will obtain better results than patients who only receive standard medical treatment. Likewise, we will evaluate the impact of this intervention on the patient's medical condition to confirm that the intervention is safe".

The project is co-led by translational research group in the critical patient of I3PT in which they participate Josephine Lopez -head of the group-, Sol Fernandez, Marta Godoy i Mercé Jodar, and which also involves the Center for Biomedical Research in the Respiratory and Mental Health Network of theCarlos III Health Institute.

Thanks to one scholarship of The 3CAT Marathon for mental health research (2021), the team will lead this research project in collaboration with theUniversity Institute for Research in Health Sciences of the UIB,Son Llàtzer University Hospital of Palma and the company Eodyne Systems SL., a company dedicated to the development of technological solutions based on science for rehabilitation, which is in charge of technological development. All the partners met last December to share the progress made so far and agree on the next steps before starting the clinical trial, scheduled for the spring of 2024 and which will last for two years.

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