The authors review current literature on transitional care for patients from the intensive care unit, with a focus on contemporary challenges, problematic clinical practices, and future research directions.

Transition is a “process or period in which something undergoes a change and passes from one state, stage, form, or activity to another.”1 Ideally, healthcare transitions encompass safe and efficient movements of patients between different sectors or levels of care within the healthcare system2 and appear to be fundamental in achieving beneficial outcomes for patients.3 Critically ill patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) often experience multiple transitions as they move through different levels of care. The transfer of ICU patients to intermediate care units and subsequent ongoing provision of care are a daily occurrence in acute care hospitals.

In this article, we define ICU transitional care as care provided before, during, and after the transfer of an ICU...

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