Can you tell your patients how likely they are to return home, to be independent? The “chronically critically ill” are intensive care unit (ICU) patients who survive an initial life-threatening illness, but remain dependent on high-technology ICU services. Increasingly, survival is not the only important outcome: functional status, independence, ability to live at home, and burden on family may be more important.

Daly et al investigated likely outcomes for such patients and found the following:

  • Of those discharged from the hospital, 62% were cognitively intact at discharge and 75% were alive at 4 months.

  • Of those who were cognitively impaired at discharge, only 30% were cognitively intact at 2 months, alive, and residing at home at 4 months.

  • Four months after discharge, 20% of those who did not require mechanical ventilation (MV) at discharge had died, compared to 54% who required MV at...

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