Post–intensive care syndrome (PICS) affects 25% to 50% of adults who survive an intensive care unit (ICU) stay. Although the compounding of PICS impairments (cognitive, physical, and psychological) could intensify the syndrome, research on relationships among impairments is limited, particularly in patients with delirium.


To examine associations among PICS impairments and examine delirium status and its relationship to PICS impairments at ICU discharge and 1 month later.


A descriptive, correlational study of adults who survived an ICU stay. Participants completed measures for depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress, physical function, functional status, and cognition at ICU discharge and 1 month later. Relationships among PICS impairments were examined with Spearman correlations; differences in impairments by delirium status were assessed with t tests.


Of 50 enrolled participants, 46 were screened for PICS impairment at ICU discharge and 35 were screened 1 month later. Cognitive impairment was the most common impairment at both time points. A positive correlation was found between cognition and functional status at ICU discharge (ρ = 0.50, P = .001) and 1 month later (ρ = 0.54, P = .001). Cognition and physical functioning were positively correlated 1 month after discharge (ρ = 0.46, P = .006). The group with delirium had significantly lower functional status scores than the group without delirium at ICU discharge (P = .04).


The findings suggest a moderate correlation between cognitive and physical impairments. This relationship should be explored further; ICU survivors with undiagnosed cognitive impairment may have delayed physical recovery and greater risk for injury.

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