Despite a growing cohort of intensive care unit (ICU) survivors, little is known about the early ICU aftercare period.


To identify gaps in early ICU aftercare and factors associated with poor hospital outcomes.


A multisite, retrospective study (January 1 to December 31, 2017) was conducted among randomly selected patients admitted to the medical ICU and subsequently transferred to acute medical care units. Records were reviewed for patient characteristics, ICU course, and early ICU aftercare practices and syndromes. Associations between practices and hospital outcomes were calculated with χ2 and Wilcoxon rank sum tests, followed by logistic regression.


One hundred fifty-one patients met inclusion criteria (mean [SD] age, 64.2 [19.1] years; 51.7% male; 44.4% White). The most frequent diagnoses were sepsis (35.8%) and respiratory failure (33.8%). During early ICU aftercare, 46.4% had dietary restrictions, 25.8% had bed rest orders, 25.0% had a bladder catheter, 26.5% had advance directive documentation, 33.8% had dysphagia, 34.3% had functional decline, and 23.2% had delirium. Higher Charlson Comorbidity Index (odds ratio, 1.6) and midodrine use on medical units (odds ratio, 7.5) were associated with in-hospital mortality; mechanical ventilation in the ICU was associated with rapid response on medical unit (odds ratio, 12.9); and bladder catheters were associated with ICU readmission (odds ratio, 5.2).


Delirium, debility, and dysphagia are frequently encountered in early ICU aftercare, yet bed rest, dietary restriction, and lack of advance directive documentation are common. Future studies are urgently needed to characterize and address early ICU aftercare.

You do not currently have access to this content.