Improving care for intensive care survivors and their families requires collaboration between practitioners and researchers in both the inpatient and outpatient settings, says a new report from the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM). The report is based on the outcomes of a 2-day meeting aimed at improving the long-term outcomes after critical illness for patients and their families.
Thirty-one invited stakeholders participated in the conference. Stakeholders represented key professional organizations and groups, predominantly from North America, involved in the care of intensive care survivors after hospital discharge.
Invited experts and SCCM presented a summary of existing data regarding the potential long-term physical, cognitive, and mental health problems after intensive care and the results from studies of postintensive care unit interventions to address these problems. Stakeholders provided reactions, perspectives, concerns, and strategies aimed at improving care and mitigating these long-term health problems.
Three major themes emerged from the conference: (1) raising awareness and education, (2) understanding and addressing barriers to practice, and (3) identifying research gaps and resources. Postintensive care syndrome was agreed upon as the recommended term to describe new or worsening problems in physical, cognitive, or mental health status arising after a critical illness and persisting beyond acute care hospitalization. The term could be applied to either a survivor or family member.
In addition, strategies were developed to address the major themes arising from the conference to improve outcomes for survivors and families.
The report was coauthored by Anita Bemis-Dougherty, PT, DPT, MAS, associate director of APTA's Department of Practice, and APTA member Christiane Perme, PT, CCS.
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