To describe the association of intensive care with trajectories of functional, emotional, social, and physical well-being in patients with 3 common advanced illnesses.
Cross-sectional cohort study of 42 patients admitted to the intensive care unit selected from 210 patients with stage IV breast, prostate, or colon cancer or stage IIIb or IV lung cancer; New York Heart Association class III or IV congestive heart failure; and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with hypercapnea (Pco2 > 46 mm Hg). Scores on subscales of the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-General survey were measured monthly for 6 months before and after admission to the intensive care unit and were analyzed by using the unit admission date as a point of discontinuous change to illustrate trajectories before and after the admission.
Overall, trajectories of well-being declined sharply after admission to the intensive care unit. Declines in physical, functional, and emotional well-being were statistically significant. During the 6 months after admission, physical, functional, and emotional well-being scores trended back up to baseline while social well-being scores continued to decline.
Well-being trajectories declined sharply after admission to the intensive care unit, with recovery in the subsequent 6 months, and may be characterized by common patterns. These results help to better describe intensive care as a marker for advancing illness in patients with advanced chronic illness.