Quality of life and persisting symptoms in intensive care unit survivors: Implications for care after discharge

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BACKGROUND: We assessed the quality of life of ICU survivors using SF-36 at 4 months after ICU discharge and investigated any correlation of PCS and MCS with age, illness severity and hospital or ICU length of stay. We examined the relationship between these variables, persisting physical and psychological symptoms and the perceived benefit of individual patients of follow-up.<br /><br />FINDINGS: For one year, adult patients admitted for multiple organ or advanced respiratory support for greater than 48 hours to a 16-bedded teaching hospital general intensive care unit were identified. Those surviving to discharge were sent a questionnaire at 4 months following ICU discharge assessing quality of life and persisting symptoms. Demographic, length of stay and illness severity data were recorded. Higher or lower scores were divided at the median value. A two-tailed Students t-test assuming equal variances was used for normally-distributed data and Mann-Whitney tests for non-parametric data.87 of 175 questionnaires were returned (50%), but only 65 had sufficient data giving a final response rate of 37%. Elderly patients had increased MCS as compared with younger patients. The PCS was inversely related to hospital LOS. There was a significant correlation between the presence of psychological and physical symptoms and desire for follow-up.<br /><br />CONCLUSION: Younger age and prolonged hospital stay are associated with lower mental or physical quality of life and may be targets for rehabilitation. Patients with persisting symptoms at 4 months view follow-up as beneficial and a simple screening questionnaire may identify those likely to attend outpatient services.




Baldwin, F. J., Hinge, D., Dorsett, J., & Boyd, O. F. (2009). Quality of life and persisting symptoms in intensive care unit survivors: Implications for care after discharge. BMC Research Notes, 2. https://doi.org/10.1186/1756-0500-2-160

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