To test the effectiveness of a stepped care intervention model targeting posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms after injury.
Few investigations have evaluated interventions for injured patients with PTSD and related impairments that can be feasibly implemented in trauma surgical settings.
The investigation was a pragmatic effectiveness trial in which 207 acutely injured hospitalized trauma survivors were screened for high PTSD symptom levels and then randomized to a stepped combined, care management, psychopharmacology, and cognitive behavioral psychotherapy intervention (n = 104) or usual care control (n = 103) conditions. The symptoms of PTSD and functional limitations were reassessed at one-, three-, six-, nine-, and twelve-months after the index injury admission.
Regression analyses demonstrated that over the course of the year after injury, intervention patients had significantly reduced PTSD symptoms when compared to controls (group by time effect, CAPS, F(2, 185) = 5.50, P < 0.01; PCL-C, F(4, 185) = 5.45, P < 0.001). Clinically and statistically significant PTSD treatment effects were observed at the six-, nine-, and twelve-month post-injury assessments. Over the course of the year after injury, intervention patients also demonstrated significant improvements in physical function (MOS SF-36 PCS main effect, F(1, 172) = 9.87, P < 0.01).
Stepped care interventions can reduce PTSD symptoms and improve functioning over the course of the year after surgical injury hospitalization. Orchestrated investigative and policy efforts could systematically introduce and evaluate screening and intervention procedures for PTSD at United States trauma centers. (Trial Registration: clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT00270959)